Anan (family name withheld)

On 26 October 2012 Anan (family name withheld), now aged 70, was accused of lese majeste for defaming Princess Sirindhorn and Princess Soamsawali in Pathum Thani Province.

When the accusation was investigated in 2012, no charge was filed.

However, following the 2014 coup, prosecutors were ordered to trawl over previous 112 cases, and Anan’s was taken to court after a police committee ordered that the case be prosecuted and the officer who did not file charges was subjected to disciplinary punishment.

Anan denied the accusations and after 21 days in jail was granted bail.

Anan’s first verdict was given on 29 September 2016. It was complicated. The court found he had committed the acts he was prosecuted for. However, the court, having advice from the Royal Household Bureau, ruled that Article 112 did not cover Sirindhorn and Soamsawali.

Thus, unable to convict Anan under the lese majeste verdict, the court itself cobbled together a conviction, reasoning that the defendant defamed Sirindhorn and Soamsawali. Despite the fact that neither of the two royals had lodged a defamation complaint, the court “found the defendant guilty of violating of Article 326 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to 1 year in prison for each offence, totalling 2 years.”

In other words, Anan was convicted of a crime for which he had not been charged, which had not been investigated and for which he was not tried.

An Appeals Court considered Anan’s appeal and issued its verdict on 20 May 2017. The article doesn’t clearly state the outcome but it appears that it found for the defendant, presumably leading to a prosecution appeal to the Supreme Court.

On 27 December 2018, the Thanyaburi Provincial Court read the Supreme Court’s verdict. It found Anan guilty on two charges of personal defamation, and sentenced him to one year in prison for each offence, suspended for three years, and a fine of 20,000 baht for each offence.

Defense lawyer Thitiphong Sisaen made the following observations:

1) The Supreme Court has set a standard for defamation cases (Article 326). Even if the victim does not file a complaint, if there is an investigation into the offence, the prosecutor may file a lawsuit….

2) The Supreme Court referred to the 2017 Constitution as the criterion for the legitimacy of the investigation (the state has the duty to protect and preserve the monarchy and national security), but this case occurred in 2012 and the charges were filed in 2015. This means the Supreme Court has set down a new legal principle, stating that laws are effective retrospectively in order to punish the accused.

Media accounts of Anan’s case:

Prachatai, 1 January 2018: “Supreme Court gives 2-year suspended sentence on charge of defaming Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn


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