Thailand has increased its crackdown on democracy activists and protesters. The recent spate of violence against dissent comes against the backdrop of protests against lese majeste laws. CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global alliance of civil society organisations (CSOs) and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world, has reported some of the charges brought against civilians on the basis of these undemocratic laws. A few of these cases CIVICUS cites include:
- On 19 January 2021, a woman was jailed for 43 years for criticising the royal family online. Anchan Preelert, a food seller and former civil servant, faced 29 counts of “insulting the monarchy”, or lèse majesté, under Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code and provisions of the Computer Crime Act. She was arrested in January 2015 and detained for nearly four years until November 2018, when she was released on bail. Anchan was initially detained incommunicado in a military camp for five days before her transfer to a detention facility. She was repeatedly denied bail.
- On 9 February 2021, the authorities indicted pro-democracy activists Arnon Nampha, Parit Chiwarak, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, and Patiwat Saraiyaem on lèse majesté charges for their onstage speeches during a September 2020 political rally. Each accused faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The activists were also charged with sedition under Article 116 of the penal code, which carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison. The four have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Bangkok Criminal Court also denied bail requests and ordered the activists into pretrial detention. The order could condemn them to detention for years until their trial is concluded. Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and Parit Chiwarakan were granted bail on 23 April and 11 May 2021 respectively.
- On 8 March 2021, three activists – Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok and Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa – were charged with lèse majesté and denied bail in connection with a demonstration in Bangkok in September 2020. The activists were also charged with sedition. Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul and Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa have since been released on bail. 15 other activists were also charged for their involvement in the pro-democracy protests, including with sedition or organising illegal gatherings, and granted bail.
The full list of cases outlined by CIVICUS can be found here. The list appears in a letter addressed to the Ministry of Justice of Thailand by CIVICUS requesting redress and the release of those arrested.