Thanakorn Phiraban

ThanakornThanakorn Phiraban, nicknamed Petch, with surname withheld, a 17 year-old at the time of the alleged lese majeste offense on 6 December 2020.

The indictment only became known when, on 24 May 2021, the teenager reported himself to the Central Juvenile and Family Court.

Petch, an LGBTQ activist, was arrested for taking part in a protest in December demanding reform of the country’s monarchy. He was charged with having given a speech during which he is alleged to have insulted the monarchy.

At the protest at Wong Wian Yai he said that Thailand is not a democracy but an absolute monarchy. He also spoke about the role of the monarchy in military coups and called for reform.

Petch denies the allegation and the court released him on a bail of 5,000 baht. His next hearing is scheduled for 11 June.

He is reportedly worried about the injustices seen in recent lese majeste cases and for the future of democracy in Thailand. Petch was supported by his father who criticized prosecutions for expressing opinions and urged protesters on.

Petch faces a total of five charges. In addition to lese majeste, he faces charges of sedition and violation of the Emergency Decree.

Human Rights Watch commented on the prosecution:

By punishing outspoken children with lese majeste charges, the Thai authorities are seeking to intimidate peaceful critics by demonstrating that they will all be harshly punished regardless of their age…. These senseless, rights-abusing charges should immediately be dropped against Thanakorn and all others peacefully expressing their views.

Media accounts of Thanakorn’s case:

Prachatai, 30 May 2021: “17-year-old activist indicted on lèse majesté charge

HRW, 27 May 2021: “Thailand: Child Prosecuted for Insulting Monarchy

Thai PBS, 25 May 2021: “First Thai teenage anti-establishment protester indicted with lèse majesté