51-year-old man found imprisoned since 2020 for royal defamation over FB comments

Cover photo: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights

A 51-year-old man has recently been found detained in Bangkok Remand Prison since 2020 after being found guilty of royal defamation.

On 30 November, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights discovered a previously unreported detainee in Bangkok Remand Prison who was later identified as 51-year-old Yong (first and last name withheld).

Yong stated that he has been detained for 3 years. He recounted that it started when he commented on a Facebook post that contained an image of the royal family and interacted with others on the post.

At the time, the National Council for Peace and Order was still in power. He said he was arrested by officials from the military, including the Internal Security Operation Command. He was taken to the 11th Infantry Regiment and detained for 3-4 days, during which time his mobile phone was confiscated.

He was subsequently taken to Prawet Police Station and informed of the charges under the royal defamation law and the Computer-Related Crime Act. Yong said he was detained for 19 days before filing a bail application. He was later released.

After being released, he decided to plead guilty on 1 December 2020. Yong was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but due to his guilty plea, the sentence was reduced to 6 years.

Yong added that he had received two pardons on special occasions which reduced his sentence. His remaining sentence is approximately 7 months and he expects to be released on 15 June 2024.

Yong was a taxi driver who provided a transportation service from Suvarnabhumi Airport. He said that he had previously participated in the 2010 Red Shirt protests. He also witnessed the shooting in the head of Red Shirt military chief Maj Gen Khattiya ‘Seh Daeng’ Sawasdipol at the Saladaeng intersection.

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