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Activists Chitrin Phalakantrong and Micky (pseudonym) have been sentenced to prison on a royal defamation charge for allegedly burning a royal ceremonial arch on the overpass in front of Rajavinit Mathayom School during a protest on 19 September 2021.

(Photo from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights)

Chitrin and Micky were charged with royal defamation, arson, destruction of property and violation of the Emergency Decree for burning the royal arch. They were also accused, along with activist Sinburi Saenkla, of setting fire to a traffic control box at Nang Loeng intersection. Sinburi was charged with arson, destruction of property, and violation of the Emergency Decree.

Sinburi was previously held in pre-trial detention for over 3 months. He reported to the police on 8 August 2022 after learning that there was an arrest warrant out for him. He was subsequently denied bail and detained until 22 November 2022, when he was finally granted bail.

Micky was also detained for around 50 days. He was denied bail after being indicted on 4 October 2022. He was granted bail and released on 22 November 2022.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that the Criminal Court last Thursday (30 May) found Micky guilty of royal defamation for burning the royal arch, arson for burning the traffic control box, and for violating the Emergency Decree. He was sentenced to 5 years and 10 days in prison.

Chitrin was found guilty of royal defamation for burning the royal arch and of violating the Emergency Decree. He was sentenced to 3 years and 10 days.

Sinburi was found guilty of arson for burning the traffic control box and of violating the Emergency Decree. He was sentenced to 2 years and 10 days.

All three were later granted bail pending appeal.

Another activist, Pornchai Yuanyee, was also charged with the same charges as Micky and Chitrin. He was arrested on 8 October 2022, denied bail, and was held in pre-trial detention until he was granted bail on 22 November 2022. Pornchai did not appear in court during the first witness examination hearing, so the court issue an warrant for him and struck his case from the case list.

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