Court accepts lèse majesté case against ‘lost faith’ shirt wearer

The Khon Kaen Provincial Court has accepted a lèse-majesté case  filed against Tiwagorn Withiton, a Facebook user whose picture wearing a shirt printed with “I lost faith in the monarchy” went viral in 2020.

Tiwagorn Withiton (Picture from TLHR) 

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported yesterday (27 May) that the public prosecutor has filed a case against Tiwagorn under Sections 112 and 116 of the Criminal Code, or the lèse majesté law and the sedition law, as well as under the Computer Crimes Act.

The lawyer requested bail for Tiwagorn using a security of 150,000 baht. At 13.00, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court granted him bail without any conditions. The next hearing was scheduled on 3 August 2021.

Tiwagorn became famous for posting on Facebook a picture of himself wearing a t-shirt printed with “I lost faith in the monarchy”. In July 2020, he was arrested and forcibly admitted to Khon Kaen Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital and was discharged on 22 July 2020 after a public campaign calling for his release.

He was arrested again on 4 March and taken to Tha Phra Police Station in Khon Kaen on charges under Section 112, Section 116, and the Computer Crimes Act because of Facebook posts he made on 11 and 18 February 2021.

On Wednesday (26 May), Tiwagorn posted on Facebook that Pattana Sriyai, the lawyer responsible for his case, called to inform him that the public prosecutor had already ordered the case to be filed to the court

Chonticha Jangrew

Meanwhile, activists Chonticha Jangrew and Chokechai Rompruek are waiting to hear whether the public prosecutor will file a case against them for their involvement in a protest on 6 March.

TLHR reported yesterday (27 May) that the public prosecutor has postponed the hearing on whether they will file a case against Chonticha and Chokechai until 27 July at 10.00.

According to TLHR, Chonticha and Chokechai face charges of violating the Emergency Decree and the Land Traffic Act by participating in the protest on 6 March which marched from the Lat Phrao intersection to the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road to dump trash in front of the court.

Police also issued a summons for Phonchai (last name withheld), a Karen activist who was charged under Section 112 and recently released from Chiang Mai Remand Prison on 22 April. However, he is unable to answer the summons, as he tested positive for Covid-19 and is currently receiving treatment.

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”