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3 more people have been charged with royal defamation under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, bringing the number of people facing Section 112 charges to 40.

Jiratita (Photo by TLHR) 

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that Nat (pseudonym), one of the admins for the Facebook page “Khana Ratsadon,” was arrested on 31 December, after the police searched their house and confiscated their phones, yellow duck calendars, and commemorative medals.

Nat was taken to Nongkhaem Police Station and charged with royal defamation. The police claimed that the calendars contain images and messages which insult the monarchy.

TLHR also said that, during the arrest, the officers did not present an arrest warrant or inform Nat of their rights.

The police denied bail to Nat at the inquiry level, who was therefore held at Nongkhaem Police Station over the New Year holiday while the court was closed.

Nat was taken to Taling Chan Criminal Court on 2 January 2021 for a temporary detention request. Their lawyer objected to the request on the ground that the arrest was unlawful, as the officers did not present an arrest warrant and the arrest was not due to a flagrant offence.

The Court accepted the temporary request. However, Nat was later granted bail using Move Forward Party’s Amarat Chokepamitkul’s MP position as security and was released.

On 3 January, Thanakon (last name withheld), 17, also received a summons on a Section 112 charge issued by Buppharam Police Station. TLHR said that the charge is likely to be related to a demonstration on 6 December 2020 at Wongwian Yai. 

Jiratita (last name withheld), 23, was also charged with royal defamation for a speech given at the protest on 2 December 2020 at the Lad Phrao intersection. Anon Nampa, Parit Chiwarak, Shinawat Chankrachang and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul also face Section 112 charges for their involvement in the same protest.

TLHR noted that the charges against those involved in the 2 December protest were filed by a member of the public, which shows the problem of anyone being able to file a complaint under this law, therefore allowing it to be used by various political factions against each other.

Meanwhile, several protest leaders have received further charges under Section 112. Parit is now facing 12 counts, Anon is facing 8 counts, Panusaya is facing 6 counts, while Panupong is facing 5 counts.

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