A red shirt leader, also known as Jeng Dokchik, when sentenced he was an adviser to the Yingluck Shinawatra government. A well-known comedian who was prominent in the 2010 protests, he was sentenced on a lese majeste charge based on comments and actions during a speech at a red-shirt rally at the Phan Fa stage on 29 March 2010.
The court’s judgement was remarkable for its extension of lese majeste to include words left unspoken. Jeng “received the sentence for comments made in a speech to protesters that implied King Bhumibol Adulyadej influenced [then Prime Minister] Abhisit [Vejjajiva]’s decision not to dissolve the parliament, according to a court statement.” The court stated: “His statement falsely accused the king of political interference and opposing the defendant and his group…. His statement that his speech didn’t mean he was referring to the king is groundless.”
In other words, the court concluded that there was an implied “threat to the monarchy” by associating a political decision with the king. One foreign source commented on the sentence: “What savagery.”
Yoswaris is alleged to have “told Red Shirt protesters that Abhisit refused to dissolve parliament in 2010 on the orders of an unidentified person with more power than both him and Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, the king’s top adviser, according to the court.” He also named the military and added that there was someone else behind Abhisit before placing his hands over his mouth and saying: “I am not brave enough to say it…. But I know what are you thinking right now. So I will keep my mouth shut.”
The [court concluded that the] speech apparently made people believe that Yoswaris was referring to the king.
He has been released on bail while appealing. However, it was reported on 1 May 2014 that the Court of Appeals the conviction and the two year prison sentence.
Yoswaris stated that he would again appeal the court ruling and his lawyer posted bail of 500,000 baht, although he remained in jail awaiting bail to be granted. Finally, on 22 May 2014, the Supreme Court granted bail.
On 7 March 2017, the Supreme Court also upheld the conviction and two year sentence. After the verdict was read, Jeng was immediately taken to jail.
Media accounts of Jeng’s case:
Bangkok Post, 7 March 2017: “Jeng loses final appeal against jail term for lese majeste”
Prachatai, 7 March 2017: “Red shirt leader gets 2 years jail term for lèse majesté”
Bangkok Post, 22 September 2014: “Supreme Court grants bail to Jeng”
The Nation, 2 May 2014: “Appeals Court upholds lese majeste sentence”
Khaosod, 1 May 2014: “UDD Activist Convicted of Lese Majeste For 2010 Speech”
BDLive, 21 August 2013: “Fear and loathing in the land of Zuma”
Associated Press, 16 January 2013: Thai Red Shirt gets jail term for anti-king speech
BBC News, 17 January 2013: “Thai comedian and ‘red-shirt’ leader jailed for royal insult”
Hong Kong Standard, 17 January 2013: “Thai comedian gets 2-year jail time for insulting royals”
Bloomberg, 17 January 2013: “Thai Government Adviser Jailed for Two Years for Insulting King”
New York Times, 17 January 2013: “In Thailand, a Broader Definition of Insulting Royalty”