Thailand's political prisoners

The denial of bail for two people found guilty of royal defamation this June has brought the number of political prisoners in Thailand to 17. Of this number, 10 are detained following a final verdict from the Supreme Court or after a decision not to appeal. The remaining 7 are detained pending trial or appeal, 4 of whom on royal defamation charges.

The 10 people detained following a final verdict are:

  1. Anchan Preelert, a 65-year-old former civil servant, was sentenced to 43 years and 6 months on 29 counts of royal defamation for allegedly sharing and uploading clips on social media of an online talk show alleged to have made defamatory comments about the monarchy. After being found guilty and denied bail in January 2021, Anchan did not file for appeal and is now serving her sentence at the Central Women Correctional Institution. Her sentence is the longest ever given for an offence under Thailand’s royal defamation law, which carries a prison sentence of 3 – 15 years per charge.
  2. Supagorn, 23, was accused of posting edited pictures of King Bhumibol and King Vajiralongkorn on Facebook in April 2020 and charged with violation of the Computer Crimes Act. In March 2021, he was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison and denied bail. He decided not to file for appeal and is now serving his sentence at the Thonburi Remand Prison.
  3. Natchanon, 25, was arrested on his way to a protest on 12 June 2022 at the Din Daeng intersection. He was charged with being in possession of an explosive and sentenced to 3 years in prison. After being repeatedly denied bail during and after his trial, Natchanon decided not to file for appeal and is now serving his sentence at the Bangkok Remand Prison.
  4. Private Methin, 22, a soldier, has been detained at the 11th Military Circle Prison since 19 March 2022. Methin was charged with royal defamation and sentenced to 5 years in prison, reduced to 2 years and 6 months. after he was accused of mentioning King Vajiralongkorn while arguing with another person who hit his motorcycle with their car.
  5. Kritsana and Wannapa were found guilty of being members of a secret society, distributing leaflets and wearing and selling Federationist shirts. They were sentenced to 3 years in prison – a verdict upheld by both the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court.
  6. Paritat, 33, was charged with royal defamation over a tweet. He is now detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison after he was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison, a verdict upheld by the Appeal Court.
  7. Katatorn, a member of a network of pro-democracy vocational school students, was arrested for being in possession of an explosive while on his way to a memorial event on the 12th anniversary of the crackdown on the Red Shirt protests at Ratchaprasong intersection. He was sentenced to 2 years and 7 months in prison, reduced by half to 1 year, 3 months, and 15 days. Since he spent almost a year in pre-trial detention, Katatorn is due to be released on 24 July 2023.
  8. Suwit was charged with being in possession of an explosive during a protest on 10 August 2021, and sentenced to 1 year and 2 months in prison. After the Appeal Court ruled to uphold the verdict of the Court of First Instance, Suwit and his family decided not to file an appeal with the Supreme Court. He is now serving his sentence at the Bangkok Remand Prison.
  9. Thattaphong Khieaokhao, 25, was arrested on 16 November 2022 at a police checkpoint during the APEC summit on an arrest warrant for being in possession of an explosive. His charge resulted from his participation in a Thalugaz protest on 21 November 2021 on Ratchaprarop Road. He was held in pre-trial detention since 1 March 2023 when he was indicted, and was not released until he was found guilty on 31 May 2023 and sentenced to 3 years in prison. He decided not to file an appeal and is now serving his sentence at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

Meanwhile, 7 people are detained pending trial or appeal:

  1. Thiranai and Chaiyaporn were charged with being in possession of an explosive during a protest on 29 August 2021 and sentenced to 6 years in prison, reduced to 3 years because they confessed. They were denied bail and have been detained pending appeal since 15 February 2023.
  2. Chanadon was denied bail after the public prosecutor indicted him for being in possession of an explosive during a protest on 20 August 2021. He has been detained since 15 March 2023.
  3. Wut, 50, was charged with royal defamation over 12 Facebook posts made in 2021.He was denied bail after he was indicted on 27 March 2023 and is now detained at Minburi Remand Prison.
  4. Wayha Saenchonchanasuk, 39, was charged with royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act for a series of tweets claiming he had been imprisoned at the Phutthamonthon Temporary Prison, a detention facility allegedly located on the grounds of Dhaveevatthana Palace, for mistakes he made while working during King Vajiralongkorn’s coronation. He was sentenced to 3 years and 18 months in prison and is now detained pending appeal.
  5. Teepagorn, 38, was charged with royal defamation for sharing a YouTube video clip along with a caption questioning the role of the monarchy and sentenced to 3 years in prison. He was denied bail and has been detained pending appeal since 19 June 2023.
  6. Warunee, 30, was charged with royal defamation for posting a picture of King Vajiralongkorn changing the seasonal decoration of the Emerald Buddha, edited so that the Buddha is wearing a dress. She was found guilty on 28 June 2023 and sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison. The Appeal Court denied her bail and she is now detained at the Central Women Correctional Institution.

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