Lese majeste indictment

22 01 2022

Saharat at a 2020 rally. Clipped from Prachatai

Prachatai reports that former novice monk “Saharat Sukkhamla, 21, has been indicted on a royal defamation charge resulting from a speech he gave during a protest organized by the students’ rights group Bad Student on 21 November 2020.”

The complaint against Saharat was filed by Ratthanaphak Suwannarat. After Saharat reported to police, it was “more than 5 months before the public prosecutor decided to indict him.”

The public prosecutor decided that Saharat’s speech insults the king:

The indictment gave examples of the offending parts, such as when Saharat ask[ed] why we can only discuss the King’s good deeds but cannot discuss his bad side, and when he said that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s statement that the authorities will use every law against the protesters, even the royal defamation charge, will make the King break his promise, since the King said that the royal defamation law will not be used against citizens.

The public prosecutor said that Saharat’s speech could cause misunderstanding concerning the King, such as making him seem like someone who could harm the country or someone who is dishonest and does not keep his promise or that he will intervene in law enforcement. The public prosecutor also claimed that Saharat intended to harm the monarchy and cause a loss of respect for the monarchy.

It is reported that “Saharat left monkhood in November 2021, saying that he faced pressure from both the Buddhist order and state authorities.”

He has been allowed bail: “The South Bangkok Criminal Court granted Saharat bail on a 200,000-baht security and set the conditions that he may not join a gathering which may cause public disorder, participate in activities which can harm the monarchy, or leave the country without permission.”



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