Judged for Post Article BBC, Thai Activist Flies to LN

 A pro-democracy activist in Thailand fled abroad after learning he would be tried for posting a British media article, BBC in 2016. The BBC article was considered offensive and offensive to the Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

As reported by Reuters Monday (29/1/2018), female activist named Chanoknan Ruamsap is blurred out of Thailand on Sunday (28/1) local time. Through his Facebook post, Chanoknan said since the beginning of this month, he received a call to attend the trial of the Royal Thai insult case.

According to the summons, Chanoknan was charged with violating article 112, insulting the Kingdom of Thailand, by posting the profile of King Vajiralongkorn from a BBC Thai-language article whose contents were considered offensive to the King. The BBC article once posted Chanoknan via his Facebook account in 2016.

"It seems I have been charged with article 112 for sharing the BBC article in December 2016," Chanoknan said via his latest Facebook post. "I have less than 30 minutes to decide whether to stay or leave, this is a difficult decision because this time I will not be able to return."

The BBC article which is considered offensive to King Vajiralongkorn was released shortly after King Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne in December 2016, after the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thailand still applies the lese-majeste law, also known as article 112. Under the law of lese majeste, any violation of the rule of law has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Last year, another Thai activist, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for posting the same BBC article. Jatupat, who was heavily involved in the Thai anti-junta rally, was arrested in 2016.

Legal action under the Computer Crimes Act and royal defamation law has risen sharply under the ruling military junta since the 2014 coup. 94 people on trial for violation of lese-majeste. Of that number, according to the iLaw monitoring group, a total of 43 people were sentenced to jail terms.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has repeatedly vowed to crack down on critics of the Thai Empire. On the other hand, critics of Thailand's military junta say the lese-majeste law is often used to silence the enemies of the military junta.

(nvc / ita)

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