Thai appeals court docket reverses acquittal in lese majeste case over offensive Facebook comment

The Thai Appeals Court overturned a previous ruling yesterday, convicting a person on charges of lese majeste referring to comments deemed offensive in the direction of the monarchy. The defendant, recognized only as Wutthipat, was found responsible by the Appeals Court of violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, in accordance with the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.
The judges determined that Wutthipat’s comment on the Royalists Marketplace Facebook page was offensive to a former king and the present monarch. Initially, the court sentenced him to 5 years in jail, but as a result of providing a press release helpful to the proceedings, the sentence was lowered to 3 years and four months. Wutthipat was subsequently launched on bail whereas awaiting an attraction to the Supreme Court.
On June 2, 2020, Wutthipat posted a remark on-line regarding the demise of King Ananda Mahidol, or King Rama VIII, which took place in 1946. Siwaphan Manitkul, a personal citizen, filed a lese majeste police criticism in opposition to Wutthipat on July 19, 2021, accusing him of violating Section 112 and the Computer Crime Act.
During witness hearings held on March 1-2 of the previous 12 months, Wutthipat admitted to posting the remark, making reference to King Rama IX, the youthful brother of King Rama VIII. However, he argued that lese majeste does not embody previous kings. The Samut Prakan Provincial Court had initially dismissed the case, asserting that although the defendant’s remark referenced King Rama IX with offensive remarks, Section 112 solely protects the current king, queen, heir to the throne, and regent.
Opponents of the lese majeste regulation argue that it serves as a robust tool to stifle dissenting voices in Thailand, as the government can use it to impose extreme penalties on critics. The regulation has faced backlash from human rights teams and international organisations, which assert that it has a adverse impression on freedom of expression in Thai society.
Despite these criticisms and calls for amendments, the Thai authorities has persistently defended the lese majeste law, maintaining that it’s essential for the safety of the monarchy. Stunning in opposition to Wutthipat marks yet another instance during which the legislation has been utilized to penalize those making doubtlessly offensive remarks about past and present members of the Thai monarchy..

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