Jatuporn Sae-Ung

Jatuporn Sae-Ung, aged 23 when indicted on 15 July 2021, charged under Article 112. She was convicted on 12 September 2022.

Along with Noppasin Treelayapewat, a 16 year-old, she was accused of lese majeste for participating in a “fashion show” that poked fun at royals during a pro-democracy protest on Silom Road on 29 October 2020.

The so-called Ratsadorn Catwalk fashion show “took place after it was reported that the Ministry of Commerce received a 13-million baht budget for the overseas exhibition of new products by Sirivannavari brand, a fashion label owned by King Vajiralongkorn’s daughter, Princess Sirivannavari. It coincided with the launch of Sirivannavari’s newest collection, held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Sirivannavari has been hoovering up taxpayer funds for her pet projects for years.

The fashion lampoon led to a 112 complaint filed against by Waritsanun Sribawornthanakit. That royalist claimed Jatuporn “ridiculed the Queen by wearing a pink Thai traditional dress to the fashion show and walking along a red carpet under an umbrella held by another protester.”

The rally saw no speeches, but protesters participated in the fashion show, performed, and exhibit artwork to support monarchy reform.

Jatuporn was on bail prior to sentencing, with the court setting “conditions that she must not repeat her offences, participate in activities that damage the monarchy, or leave the country.” public prosecutors have decided to indict ”

On 12 September 2022 the South Bangkok Criminal Court found Jatuporn guilty of royal defamation and violation of the Public Assembly Act and sentenced her to 3 years in prison and a fine of 1,500 baht. It then reduced her sentence to 2 years in prison and a fine of 1,000 baht because she gave useful testimony.

The royalist court heard 14 prosecutor’s witnesses and two defendant’s witnesses in hearings in June 2022. The Bangkok South Criminal Court actually acquitted Jatuporn of several minor charges but ptoceeded under Article 112 and the Public Assembly Act. The court found that at the fashion show on 29 October 2020, Jatuporn intended to impersonate, mock, and dishonor the queen. This was ruled tantamount to lese majeste against the queen.

Before the court, Jatuporn affirmed her belief that dressing in “Thai National Dress” is a right of any individual and is not a crime. The fact that her dressing up on the day of the incident is a violation of Article 112 is purely a vague interpretation by the plaintiff and (supposed) witnesses.

Jatuporn stated: “Your honor, today I am wearing Thai national dress, is there something wrong with me here? I do not intend to mock anyone.”

A lawyer commented that in “a polarized society, Lèse-majesté law becomes a tool used to harm those who think differently. In this case, the individual who accused her (Jatuporn) was of the opposite political view.”

On 14 September 2022, Jatuporn was released on bail to appeal the decision. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights confirmed that an appeals court had set a bail of 300,000 baht.

Media accounts of Jatuporn’s case:

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, 15 September 2022: “Jatuporn ‘New’ Sae-Ung sentenced to three years in prison for mocking Queen Suthida, currently on temporary release with bail

La Prensa Latina, 14 September 2022: “Woman sentenced to prison for dressing up as Thai queen gets bail

Prachatai, 13 September 2022: “Protester sentenced to prison for mock fashion show

Bangkok Post, 12 September 2022: “Activist jailed for Thai costume imitating highest institution

Khaosod, 12 January 2022: “For Monarchy Reform Activist, Getting Hired Is All but Impossible

Prachatai, 30 October 2021: “16-year-old student indicted on royal defamation charge for protest fashion show

The Nation, 18 December 2020: “Youngest victim of draconian lese majeste charge gets father’s support

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