Human Interest

Man gets two years in prison for parodying Thai king with duck

Bangkok, Mar 7 (EFE).- A Thai court sentenced a man Tuesday accused of parodying King Vajiralongkorn in a calendar with veiled references to the monarch, allegedly likening him to a duck, to two years in prison for royal defamation, a group of Thai lawyers reported.

The duck, one of the symbols of the protests calling for monarchical reform since 2020, wears a red band – similar to the one worn by members of the Royal House – full of medals and the No. 10, which the court considered a mockery of the king, also known as Rama X.

The drawing also stars in the month of October, when Rama X ascended the throne after the death of his father King Bhumibol on Oct. 13, 2016.

Throughout the calendar other references are made to the scandals carried out by the monarch, fond of flying airplanes and who named a royal consort three months after marrying for the fourth time.

The court initially sentenced the defendant to three years in prison, but reduced the sentence to two without the possibility of parole, saying he cooperated during the process, rights group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said.

The convicted person, only identified as a 26-year-old man, designed the calendar for 2021 – where different duck designs appear in each month – and sold it on social media.

The royal defamation law, included in Article 112 of the Criminal Code, imposes penalties of between three years to 15 years in prison for those who defame, insult or threaten the king, queen or crown prince, and is one of the most draconian laws on the planet.

The human rights organization said it denounced the increase of such cases in Thailand since November 2020, when the government resumed the application of said regulations to stifle the pro-democracy movement led by university students in court.

This movement led to massive protests in mid-2020 and created a public debate on the role in modern society of the all-powerful Thai monarchy, which has lost supporters among Thais in recent years.

At least 228 people, including minors, have been charged with royal defamation since November 2020, according to the organization, while another 1,890 – including 284 minors – have been charged with crimes related to protests or their political expressions. EFE


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