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A musician has been given a suspended sentence of 2 years for royal defamation after singing a song during a protest on 23 August 2022.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that 54-year-old Musician Chokdee “Alex” Rompruk was found guilty under the royal defamation law and the Computer Crime Act after he livestreamed himself while singing a song by Faiyen called “Lucky to Have Thai People,” during the protest in front of the Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon. The content of the song concerns the late King Bhumibol and has nothing to do with the reigning King.

Chokdee "Alex" Rompruk

(Photo by Ginger Cat)

The indictment stated that Chokdee posted his performance on his public YouTube channel, where the video got over 71,000 views. It also claimed that he sang the song with the intent to defame and disrespect the late King and King Vajiralongkorn. His action was considered as importing false information into a computer system, constituting an offence related to national security.

Chokdee was sentenced to 3 years for royal defamation and 1 year under the Computer Crime Act. Due to his guilty plea, his sentences were reduced to 1 year and 6 months and to 6 months. TLHR also reported that Chokdee expressed remorse and promised not to engage in such an activity again. He has also contributed to society and has no history of any serious offences before. His sentence  was therefore suspended for 2 years and he will be subjected to a 1-year period of probation, during which time he has to report to a probation officer every 3 months and is also required to perform at least 24 hours of community service.

On 9 May, Chokdee was also found guilty of royal defamation for singing songs during another protest on the same day at the Victory Monument. In that case, he was sentenced to 6 years in prison, reduced to 4 years due to a guilty plea and suspended for 2 years. He was also subjected to a 1-year probation period and 24 hours of community service.

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