A report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW). Here is an excerpt:
A criminal court in Thailand sentenced a man to three years in prison for selling satirical calendars that authorities allege defamed the monarchy, further chilling free speech in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Thai authorities should quash the sentence and promptly release Narathorn Chotmankongsin, 26, who was convicted on March 7, 2023 after a six-day trial.
“The prosecution and three-year sentence of a man for selling satirical calendars shows that Thai authorities are now trying to punish any activity they deem to be insulting the monarchy,” said Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “This case sends a message to all Thais, and to the rest of the world, that Thailand is moving further away from – not closer to – becoming a rights-respecting democracy.”
On December 31, 2020, Bangkok police arrested Narathorn at his home and confiscated calendars that featured cartoons of a yellow duck. Officials said the images and descriptions ridiculed and defamed Thailand’s King Rama 10, and charged Narathorn with committing lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) for selling the calendars via the pro-democracy Ratsadon Facebook page. Thailand’s pro-democracy and political reform groups have widely used inflatable yellow ducks to symbolize their political cause, which includes reforming the monarchy as a fundamental step toward a democratic transition.
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