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A 32-year-old man from Buriram has been accused of royal defamation over a Facebook post about the execution of King Ananda’s secretary and two royal aides convicted for the alleged murder of King Ananda Mahidol.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported on Friday (10 May) that Pipat Wisetchompol, 32, was summoned to report to the police in Phatthalung’s Khuan Khanun District after a complaint was filed against him by Songchai Niamhom, leader of the ultra-royalist King Protection Group.

The inquiry officer at Khuan Khanun Provincial Police Station informed Pipat that he was charged with royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act for a Facebook post containing a picture of an incident on 28 March 2023, in which an activist spray-painted protest symbols onto the wall of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The post also contained a caption raising questions about accidents and murders and asking “Why did you execute Chit, But, and Chaliao?” alleging that the person responsible is not a good person.

Chit Singhaseni and But Phattamasarin were two royal aides convicted along with King Ananda’s secretary Chaliao Pathumrot, for being party to the assassination of King Ananda, who was found shot dead in his bedroom in the Grand Palace on 9 June 1946. The three men were sentenced to death and executed by firing squad on 17 February 1955, after their petition for clemency was rejected by King Bhumibol, King Ananda’s younger brother.

According to the police, Songchai said he was on the way to collect internet fees from his tenants in Khuan Khanun and was looking through his Facebook feed when he remembered a Facebook profile page he has been monitoring because the profile often posts about the monarchy and politics. He then visited the profile and found the post, which he claimed severely defames the late King Bhumibol. He subsequently decided to file a complaint with the police.

Pipat told TLHR that he has never been to Phatthalung before and does not know Songchai. The trip from Buriram to Phattalung also takes time and money, since he is required to travel by bus from Buriram to Bangkok to board a flight to Songkhla’s Hat Yai district, where he stayed the night before traveling to Khuan Khanun.

TLHR said that Pipat is the 10th person to be charged with royal defamation after a complaint was filed against them by a member of the King Protection Group. The complaints were filed at several police stations in Phatthalung, Krabi, and Songkhla, while many of the accused do not live in the south of Thailand and are required to spend time and money traveling to attend police and court appointments.

Songchai has filed royal defamation complaints with the police in Phatthalung and Songkhla against several people over social media posts, including former Move Forward Party MP Amarat Chokepamitkul, a 27-year-old named Nattapon, an intellectually disabled 19-year-old protester named Thiramet, and rapper Kitti Ruangphunglhuang, also known as P9D. He also filed a complaint with the police in Bangkok’s Bang Na District against two noodle vendors for putting up a sign calling for the repeal of the royal defamation law and the release of political prisoners, along with a message about the national budget in front of their shop in January 2023.

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