Skip to main content

A 19-year-old activist has been sentenced to prison for royal defamation over a speech criticising the monarchy during a protest on 6 December 2020, and been granted parole for two years.

On 6 November 2023, the Central Juvenile and Family Court sentenced Thanakorn (last name withheld), who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community, to two years in prison over a protest speech at Wongwian Yai on 6 December 2020.

The court stated that Thanakorn is a student who lives with his family and it is believed that the parents are capable of taking care of them. Therefore, the court decided to grant Thanakorn a 2-year parole, during which time they will be on probation. Thanakorn is required to report to a Counselling Centre and receive a proper consultation from psychologists every two months. In addition, Thanakorn is prohibited from committing similar offences.

In the protest, they said Thailand is not a democracy but an absolute monarchy and spoke about the role of the monarchy in military coups. At the time, Thanakorn was 17 years old.

The complaint against Thanakorn and two other activists was filed by Chakrapong Klinkaew, leader of the royalist group People Protecting the Institution.

Thanakorn was convicted of royal defamation on 22 November 2022. TLHR reported that even though Thanakorn did not mention specific kings, they were found guilty since the royal defamation law is interpreted to covers the entire monarchy.

The court sentenced them to two years in prison. The court said that since it believes it would be more beneficial for Thanakon to undergo training to improve their behaviour than for them to go to prison, it commuted the prison sentence to a Juvenile Training Centre under the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection of the Ministry of Justice for a minimum of one year and six months or a maximum of three years, until they reach the age of 24 years.

At the time, Thanakorn was granted bail in order to appeal the conviction on a security of 30,000 baht.

Thanakorn was also found guilty of royal defamation for giving a speech criticising the monarchy during a protest on 10 September 2020. TLHR reported that the Nonthaburi Juvenile and Family Court found them guilty of royal defamation and sentenced them to three years in prison. Since they were a minor when charged, the Court reduced the sentence to one year and six months, suspended for two years, during which time they will be on probation.

Prachatai English's Logo

Prachatai English is an independent, non-profit news outlet committed to covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite pressure from the authorities. Your support will ensure that we stay a professional media source and be able to meet the challenges and deliver in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”