Thanakorn Siripaiboon

Thanakorn Siripaiboon was arrested at his house in Samut Prakan Province on 8 December 2015 by military and police officers who invoked Section 44 of the Interim Constitution which gives the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order absolute authority to maintain national security. He was accused and then charged with violating the lese majeste law by spreading “sarcastic” content via Facebook which allegedly mocked Thong Daeng, the royal dog.

In addition to the lese majeste charge, the 27-year-old factory worker was also charged with sedition and computer crimes for a Facebook post that raised issues regarding the Rajabhakti park corruption scandal.

On  the lese majeste charge, prosecutors stated that, on 6 December 2015, Thanakorn copied three images from Twitter and spread it on his Facebook page. The royalist bloodhounds said the images contained “sarcastic” content about the royal mongrel.

By 11 February 2016, Thanakorn remained in custody and appeared before a military court to again have his bail request denied. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) report that, for a sixth time, the court extended Thanakorn’s pre-trial detention. The police say they hadn’t finished their investigations and were gathering forensic computer evidence.

Thanakorn’s lawyer made several representations: that prolonging the detention of the suspect violates human rights since the accusations are disproportionate to his actions and the investigation of the case is taking too long; that he should not have been charged under Article 112 as the law is clear that no dead dog is covered by it; and that  Thanakorn should not have been charged under Article 116, the sedition law, for posting an infographic on the Rajabhakti park corruption scandal.

As is expected in these increasingly bizarre lese majeste cases, the court dismissed all representations.

Later, on 1 March 2016, lawyer Anon Nampa made further representations regarding Article 112 being used to “protect” a royal’s dog. He pointed out that the charge is politically motivated and “excessive.”

It was reported that on 29 November 2016 a the provincial court decided that the case would be heard before one of Thailand’s ridiculous military courts. The “reasoning” involved a statement that the case involved “national security.” Any sensible person will see this as completely bizarre. It seems there is no sense at all in Thailand’s judiciary where the monarchy is involved.

Thanakorn was repeatedly refused bail over three months before being granted bail, one of the few to gain bail. He appealed to have his case heard in a civilian court and was rejected.

He appealed again. On 27 June 2017, his final appeal to have his case heard in a civilian court was rejected. In 2019, the cases were transferred back to the civilian courts.

On 13 January 2021, the Samut Prakan Provincial Court acquitted Thanakorn of lese-majeste and dismissed the sedition and computer crime charges as well.

Media accounts of Thanakorn’s case:

Prachatai, 16 January 2021: “Commenting on supporters of late King’s dog not illegal, says Court

The Nation, 13 January 2021: “Charges of sedition, lese majeste dropped against Rajabhakti Park whistle-blower

Prachatai, 27 June 2017: “Man charged for mocking late King’s dog to face military court

Prachatai, 30 November 2016: “Man accused of mocking late King’s dog to be tried in military court

Prachatai, 1 March 2016: “Lawyer calls for justice for man mocking King’s dog

Prachatai, 12 February 2016: “Bail denied to man mocking the King’s dog

Prachatai, 28 December 2015: “Military court denies bail to suspect accused of defaming the King’s dog

Prachatai, 14 December 2015: “Man accused of lèse majesté for mocking King’s dog

Prachatai, 14 December 2015: “Thailand: Junta critic feared ‘disappeared’

Prachatai, 11 December 2015: “Prachatai sued by head of military remand facility

Prachatai, 11 December 2015: “Junta to charge hundreds more with lèse majesté for pressing ‘like’ on Facebook

Prachatai, 10 December 2015: “Junta presses lèse majesté, sedition charges over man liking Facebook pictures

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