Pipat (family name withheld)

112On 20 April 2021, Pipat (surname withheld by request), a 20 year-old man traveled from his home in Lopburi to hear lese majeste and computer crimes charges at the Bangkaew Provincial Police Station in Samut Prakan.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, Pipat was charged for a post in Pavin Chachavalpongpun’s Royalist Marketplace Facebook group. That group has over two million followers, almost all of them in Thailand.

The charge dates back to 28 May 2020, when someone named Umaphon Sunthonphot complained to police that Pipat’s post on the Royalist Marketplace, defamed the king and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, with photos and a short caption to the Prince’s photo, which Umaphon was defamation, infringement or an expression of hostility.

Pipat has denied the charges and will submit documentary testimony within 30 days defending himself. He also asked that police summon Umaphon to provide details about how his post damaged her and how it was deemed in violation of Article 112.

Police took Pipat to Samut Prakan Provincial Court for a temporary detention order. Pipat’s lawyer asked for bail with 150,000 baht surity, citing the principle of presumption of innocence, the accused’s cooperation with police, and the impact that detention would have on his career and family’s wellbeing.

The court granted bail, which was posted by Ratsadorn Prasong, a donation fund used for bailing out pro-democracy protesters or sympathizers.

Media accounts of Pipat’s case:

Prachatai, 23 April 2021: “2 people charged with royal defamation over Facebook shares and posts