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A 53-year-old woman has been charged with royal defamation for a protest speech she made demanding the right to bail for detained political activists.

Kittiya (last name withheld), a food vendor from Si Sa Ket Province, came to the Yannawa Police Station in Bangkok on Tuesday to acknowledge a royal defamation charge, which stemmed from her activity during a protest in front of the Bangkok South Criminal Court in 2022 where she demanded the right to bail for the detained political activists.

Kittiya

Kittiya told a reporter that she received a summons under the royal defamation law and the Computer-related Crime Act on 17 February. Given that the summons required her to report to the Police Station on 15 February, she asked the police to issue a new summons but her request was denied. Rapeephong Chaiyarat, a member of the ultra-loyalist ‘People’s Centre for the Protection of the Monarchy’ filed the complaint.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reports that Kittaya was initially charged under the Sound Amplifier Act after she gave a speech on 19 July 2022. However, the police later concluded that her actions violated the royal defamation law, leading to additional charges.

Kittiya stated that she was not concerned about being prosecuted under the royal defamation law and it would not prevent her from continuing to fight for justice in the country. “Section 112 will not cause me to stop fighting or be disheartened. The country is being ruined like this. We need to move forward.” said Kittiya. The food vendor acknowledged that the situation might force her to close her restaurant, causing her employees to lose their jobs and her family to lose income.

She called for the proposed amnesty bill to include those charged with royal defamation as 112 cases are prolonged, causing difficulties for those prosecuted. She added that as the law allowed anyone to file a complaint, even parties not directly affected, it can be used to harass others by hiring people to file complaints

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