Rung Sila convicted on lese majeste

19 01 2021

Rung Sila is the penname of a poet and cyber activist whose  name is Sirapop Kornaroot. He was arrested on 24 June 2014 while on his way to a neighboring country to wait for his application as a “Person of Concern” status to be processed by the UNHCR.

On 18 January 2021, he was convicted of lese majeste and computer crimes and sentenced to 4.5 years in jail. He had already spent almost five years in custody before being granted bail in June 2019. His time served counted, meaning he did not return to prison.

While detained, his case went to a secret military court which engaged in all manner of illegal activities to make Rung Sila’s case proceed slowly and without due process. It was only in 2019 that his case went to a civilian court.

In late September 2016, the military court objected to Rung Sila’s draft final statement for the court. In it, he stated:

If judicial authorities do not serve the principles of the law under a democratic society and the people, but accept the authorities of the coup-makers, who came to power by illegal means, then the judicial system and the rule of law will be destroyed.

The court demanded that the statement be rewritten, deeming it “disrespectful.” He refused and his lawyer resubmitted the statement.

Meanwhile, in another case against him, a military court delivered two years suspended sentence on a charge of opposing the military dictatorship. It reduced this by a third for useful testimony. Thus he was given an 8-month suspended sentence and a 18,000 baht fine.

Rung Sila says that he will appeal the verdict, saying that he would prove that the lese majeste law had been exploited as a political tool against those who are oppose military coups.



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