Yotsunthon Ruttapradid

YotsunthornTwo Chiang Mai University students, Withaya Khlangnin and Yotsunthon Ruttapradid, were summoned by police on lese majeste charges and the 1979 Flag Act for an art installation piece exhibited at an event on 14 March 2021.

Their case stems from a complaint made by serial complainer and attention-seeker Srisuwan Janya who claims to be Secretary-General of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution. He filed a complaint against the students for an art installation they exhibited during a protest at Chiang Mai University.

Flag LM

Clipped from Prachatai

The art piece features a mannequin wrapped in plastic in the middle of two red and white strips. It was shown twice. Participants at the 14 March protest were invited to write messages. The police claim the messages violate Article 112. The police said that, since the art piece looks like a Thai flag without the blue stripe, which represents the monarchy, it means that the artist does not wish for the monarchy to exist in the country.

The students received a phone call from the police informing them of the summons. They were told that police had sent the summonses to their home addresses in Sukhothai and Narathiwat, and that they had to report to the police on 3 May, or the police would issue arrest warrants.

They reported to the police on 11 May 2021 and denied all charges.

Withaya and Yotsunthon were released after police officers took their fingerprints. They are required to report to the police again on 31 May 2021.

Before he entered the police station, Withaya staged a performance, using a razor to cut the number 112 into his chest.

Meanwhile, the Art and Cultural Activist Network for Democracy (ACAND), a network of artists, activists, and academics, issued a statement signed by 518 people, calling for the university to protect academic freedom and support the students.

Media commentary on Yotsunthon’s case:

Prachatai, 12 May 2021: “CMU students report to police on royal defamation charge

The Nation, 11 May 2021: “Charged Chiang Mai student cuts 112 on his chest with a razor

Prachatai, 5 May 2021: “CMU students summoned on royal defamation charge for art installation