11 people now detained for royal defamation

11 people are now detained on a royal defamation charge in Thailand. Of this number, 3 are detained following a final verdict or after a decision not to appeal, while 8 are detained pending trial or appeal.

The three 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. 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.

3. 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.

Meanwhile, 8 people are detained pending trial or appeal:

1.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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Wat, 29, a hairdresser from Ratchaburi who was found guilty of royal defamation for a Facebook message praising King Bhumibol but criticising King Vajiralongkorn. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison, reduced to 1 year and 6 months because he confessed. Wat was denied bail by the Appeal Court.

6. Sopon Surariddhidhamrong, who was sentenced to 3 years and 6 months for royal defamation and using a sound amplifier without permission. He was charged for a speech during a 22 April 2022 protest in which the court claimed he insulted Queen Suthida. The Appeal Court denied him bail and he is now detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

7. Udom, a 35 years old factory worker from Prachin Buri, who was sentenced to 4 years in prison by the Appeal Court for 2 Facebook posts. He is now detained at the Narathiwat Provincial Prison pending appeal with the Supreme Court.

8. Sombat Thongyoi, a former Red Shirt protest guard, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for royal defamation by the Appeal Court. He was charged for three Facebook posts made in 2020 and is now detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison pending appeal with the Supreme Court.

To protest her detention, Warunee has been on a hunger strike since 21 August, and has also been limiting her water intake since 24 August, only drinking a small amount when taking medication for her bipolar disorder. She was admitted to the Department of Corrections Hospital and briefly transferred to the Thammasat University Hospital following a request from her family before being transferred back to the Department of Corrections Hospital. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that she is now eating a small amount of boiled rice each day because she had been perscribed an anti-biotic, but has said that she will resume her hunger strike once she has taken the full course of anti-biotic.

Wayha has also been on a hunger strike since 23 August after learning of Warunee's strike. He is demanding bail for every political prisoner detained pending trial or appeal and amnesty for those detained following a final verdict. He is also calling for a reform of the judicial process and an act granting amnesty for political prisoners.

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