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Activist Parit Chiwarak has been accused of royal defamation for posting a critique of a Constitutional Court ruling that former Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha had not violated the constitution by continuing to live in army housing after his retirement.

Parit Chiwarak (File photo)

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), Parit reported to the police yesterday (21 March) after receiving a summons in February. He was informed by the inquiry officer that he had been accused of royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act for social media posts about a December 2020 Constitutional Court ruling that Gen Prayut’s occupation of army housing after retirement did not constitute a conflict of interest and was therefore not a violation of the Constitution.

The complaint against Parit was reportedly filed in December 2021 by former Phalang Pracharath MP Pareena Kraikupt, who claimed she saw four Facebook posts from an account with Parit’s name on it criticizing the ruling, discussing King Vajiralongkorn, and utilising a quote about judges that has often been attributed to the late King Bhumibol.

Pareena reportedly filed the complaint because she believed that Parit was the owner of the Facebook page and felt that his posts defamed King Vajiralongkorn.

Parit denied all charges. He also refused to be fingerprinted, requesting that the police uses his citizen ID number to check his identity and criminal record instead. He felt that there was no need to use his fingerprint in the investigation but the police told him that he would be charged with refusing to follow an officer’s order if he did not cooperate.

This the 25th royal defamation charge filed against Parit. TLHR noted that the summons was issued several years after the complaint was filed. They also noted that in November 2023, Pareena claimed she had withdrawn her complaint against Parit.

As a result of the posts, Parit was also accused of insulting the court, but the public prosecutor decided not to indict him.

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