Human Interest

Thai lawmaker given 6 years in prison for criticizing monarchy

Bangkok, Dec 13 (EFE).- A Bangkok court sentenced a parliamentarian of an opposition party to six years in prison Wednesday for criticizing the monarchy on social media.

Move Forward party member Rukchanok Srinork, who would have to leave her position in the Legislature, is in the process of applying for bail pending appeal, NGO Thai Lawyers for Human Rights reported.

Rukchanok, part of the progressive platform that won against the odds in the May elections but did not obtain enough support to govern, was found guilty of publishing two messages on social media in 2020 that criticized the Thai monarchy.

The royal defamation law, contained in article 112 of the Penal Code, establishes penalties of between three and 15 years in prison for anyone who defames, insults or threatens the king, queen or crown prince.

The NGO denounced the increase in royal defamation cases in Thailand since November 2020, when the government resumed the application of said regulations to suffocate the pro-democracy movement led by university students in the courts.

This movement – in which Rukchanok actively participated – staged massive protests in mid-2020 and has managed to open public debate on the role of the all-powerful monarchy of Thailand in today’s society, which has lost followers in recent years among the Thais.

In the elections of May 14, Move Forward (which won 14.4 million votes) gathered the majority of votes from young protesters. I was among others, thanks to its commitment to modify the draconian law by reducing the length of its penalties and allowing only institutions linked to the royal family to file complaints.

At least 259 people, including minors, have been charged with the law since November 2020, according to the NGO, while another 1,890 – including 284 minors – have been charged with crimes related to the protests or their political expressions. EFE

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