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A detained pro-democracy activist and protest leader has been hit with additional prison time for royal defamation as a result of a speech he gave at a protest in 2020. Found guilty of royal defamation in two earlier cases, he now faces a total of 7 years and 6 months in jail.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reports that Shinawat Chankrajang was charged with royal defamation over a protest speech he gave on 21 December 2020 when he and other activists organised a march to the Bangkhen Police Station to support activists facing charges stemming from an earlier demonstration.

The protest leader addressed the need for reform of the monarchy and amendment of the law related to the Kings personal property. As a result of the protest, 7 activists were prosecuted. Three of the defendants - Shinawat, Anon Nampa, and Parit Chiwarak - were charged with royal defamation while the rest were charged with violating the Assembly Act.

During his first witness examination, Shinawat reversed his testimony and decided to plead guilty, resulting in his trial being separated from the others.

The court on Thursday ruled that the activist was guilty as charged. He given 3 years in prison for royal defamation and fined 200 baht for unauthorised use of a sound amplifier. His sentence was later reduced to 1 year and 6 months with a 100 baht fine. Shinawat has been detained since 29 February as a result of an earlier royal defamation trial in which he was sentenced to 3 years in jail without parole. In yet another case stemming from a speech he gave at a protest on 2 December 2020, the activist was also given a 3 year prison sentence without parole. As the court ordered that his sentences be consecutively served Shinawat’s total prison sentence now stands at 7 years and 6 months.

In addition to the above-noted 3 cases, Shinawat faced another royal defamation charge for a speech he gave on on 28 July 2022.  In this latter case, he received a suspended sentence.

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