Royal pardon for red shirt webmaster convicted of lèse majesté

Thantawut Thaweewarodomkul, former webmaster of Red Shirt USA, who was sentenced to 13 years for lèse majesté, was granted a royal pardon and released from Bangkok Remand Prison on Friday, after serving 3 years. He was arrested in April 2010 for violating the lèse majesté law, or Article 112 of Criminal Code, and the Computer Crime Act.

In March 2010, the Technology Crime Suppression Division under the Royal Thai Police arrested Thantawut, accusing him, as webmaster of a red shirt website, of importing false information defaming the monarchy into a computer system, thereby violating Sections 14 and 15 of the Computer Crime Act.  


During the trial, Thantawut requested bail many times, but was always refused. On March 15, 2011, the Criminal Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison for violating the lèse majesté law, and 3 more years for violating the Computer Crime Act. After the court had approved the withdrawal of his appeal, Thantawut’s lawyer requested a royal pardon in September last year.  
Among those present at Thantawut’s release at Bangkok Remand Prison were Thammasat University history lecturer Somsak Jeamteerasakul, Chulalongkorn University linguistics lecturer Suda Rangkupan and Weng Tojirakarn, a leader of the red shirts, known as the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship.   


Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”