Two protesters sentenced to one year for contempt of court

Two protesters have been sentenced to one year in prison for contempt of court after giving a speech in front of the South Bangkok Criminal Court on 15 July 2022 to demand the right to bail for detained activists.

On 19 September 2023, the South Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced Ngoentra “Mani” Khamsaen and Chiratchaya “Ginny” Sakunthong each to one year in prison for using offensive language against the judges. Both accused the judges of misconduct and unfairness in considering the request for temporary release of the detained activists. Such actions are deemed serious and have a detrimental impact on the credibility of the judiciary, according to Thai Lawyers for Human rights (TLHR).

The TLHR said the court granted bail of 35,000 baht each, with no condition set.

They were charged with contempt of court, defamation, and using a sound amplifier without permission at a protest on 15 July 2022. In their speeches, they criticised judges for rulings made in the case of monarchy reform activists Nutthanit Duangmusit and Netiporn Sanesangkhom, who were detained pending trial on royal defamation charges at the time.

Both were apprehended during the night of 25 August 2022. The authorities had never notified them of the charges in advance and they were taken to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, which is outside the jurisdiction of the local police station where the incident occurred.

On 26 August 2022, they were denied bail on the grounds that their actions were deemed dangerous to the court since they accused judges of things that were not true in order to pressure the court. The charges also carry a severe penalty.

The complaints against them were filed by Netiphan Somchit, acting on behalf of judge Santi Chukitsappaisan, the Deputy Chief Justice of the South Bangkok Criminal Court.


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