21-year-old man jailed for royal defamation over sharing FB post

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to one year and four months on a royal defamation charge for sharing a Facebook post criticising King Vajiralongkorn's clothes in 2020.

On 28 September 2023, the Samut Prakan Provincial Court delivered its verdict in the case of Thirawat Yotsing, who was charged under Section 112 and the Computer-Related Crime Act for sharing a post from KonThaiUK on 22 May 2020, along with a message criticising the King’s clothes. The court sentenced Thirawat to two years and eight months, halved because he confessed and suspended for 2 years, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

Thirawat was indicted on two charges on 14 June 2021. The court scheduled a witness hearing for 2 August 2023 when Thirawat reversed his plea to guilty.

The court stated that his actions constituted a number of offences and the sentence was based on the law with the heavier penalty, resulting in two years and eight months in prison. Due to his guilty plea, the penalty was halved to one year and four months.

Thirawat was a minor at the time of the alleged offence and had a permanent residence and job. He also had never been sentenced on any charge before. His sentence was therefore suspended for two years and he is required to report to a probation officer six times and perform 48 hours of community service.

Thirawat first became interested in politics when he was 17 years old, which was when Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha was re-selected as Prime Minister after a general election in 2019 under the rules he set. He also participated in political protests in 2021.

The complaint was filed by Siwaphan Manitkun and is one of at least nine royal defamation cases filed by Siwaphan at Bangkaew Police Station in Samut Prakan Province. Most of these cases involve opinions expressed in social media posts in 2020.


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