Appeal Court sentences man to prison for royal defamation

Cover photo: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights

A man has been sentenced to 4 years and 24 months* in prison without parole for violating the royal defamation law and the Computer Crimes Act after he posted on Facebook about the King and the Queen’s popularity and the Kings trips to Germany.

The Appeal Court on Tuesday upheld the verdict to sentence Punyaphat (Pseudonym), a man with a mental illness, to prison for 4 posts he made on Royalist Marketplace, a Facebook group where people discuss the Monarchy, on 9 and 10 May 2020. The complaint against Punyaphat was filed by Siwapan Manitkul, who filed complaints against other 8 citizens for social media posts in 2020.

In 2021, Punyaphat, whose residence is in Kamphaeng Phet, came to Samut Prakarn to acknowledge the charges. He was taken to the Samut Prakarn Provincial Court for detention and on the same day, was granted bail with 150,000 baht as security. The court indicted him under the royal defamation law and the Computer Crimes Act.

In 2022, the Samut Prakan Provincial Court ruled that the 4 posts Punyapat made on Royalist Marketplace were intended to cause hatred of the King and Queen and that the content of the posts was false and defamed the King. The Court then sentenced him to 12 years in prison for royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act. The sentence was reduced to 4 years and 24 months due to his guilty plea.

Punyaphats mother said that he has suffered from mental and attention deficiencies since he was a child. He is not able to leave the house by himself. The court determined that this was not a mitigating factor in his case. Punyaphat was released with an additional 75,000 baht as security and appealed the charges.

The Appeal Court decided to uphold the verdict. Punyaphat was sentenced to 4 years and 24 months in prison without parole.

 

* According to the Criminal Code, If the period for calculation is determined in months, a month shall count for thirty days, and, if determined in years, it shall be calculated according to the official calendar.

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