The Kamphaeng Phet Provincial Court has indicted a 31-year-old man on a royal defamation charge for his Facebook posts in 2021.
Paul (pseudonym), 31, was charged under the royal defamation law and Computer-related Crime Act on 19 February 2022 for his three Facebook posts in 2021. The complaint was filed by a person he does not know, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).
After he was notified of the charges on 17 August 2022, the police arrived at his home with a search warrant. At the time, Paul was not at home but his mother was. The police seized his mobile phone and laptop computer for examination and proceeded to interrogate his mother.
On 10 May 2023, the police filed a case report to the Kamphaeng Phet Provincial Court. Pauk attended court hearings four times before being indicted in August 2023.
On 23 August 2023, Paul appeared in court.
According to the indictment on 22 February 2021, Paul posted a message on his Facebook, stating “You Fucked wite Wrong Generation” (sic). Another message criticised Royal Initiative Projects. The last raised questions about King Vajiralongkorn's behaviour.
Deemed to constitute defamation, the messages were held to have been written with malicious intent, leading to a loss of respect for the King. Paul’s actions, putting the messages into a computer system, were also construed as an offence related to national security under the Criminal Code.
The court initially denied bail, saying that the case has an impact on national security and the defendant constituted a flight risk.
It later granted bail with 150,000 Baht as security and scheduled a testimony for 5 September 2023.
According to TLHR, in Kamphaeng Phet Province, there have been at least five people facing legal proceedings for royal defamation as a result of complaints filed by members of the general public. Four out of five defendants do not reside in the area, creating a travel burden for them to attend court proceedings.