Protester who mocked queen in Thailand jailed for two years
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A peaceful protestor was sentenced by the Bangkok Criminal Court to two years in prison for allegedly mocking the Thai Queen.
Back in October 2020, Jatuphon 'Niw' Saeung wore a traditional dress at a satirical fashion show as a part of an anti-monarchy protest - allegedly organised as a contrast to a fashion show for King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s daughter, Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana.
Niw was also followed by a fellow protester who held an umbrella over her as she walked down the red carpet.
Under the law, anyone charged with 'insulting or threatening the King, Queen, heir-apparent or regent,' could receive between 3 to 15 years in prison.
Niw was sentenced on Monday, 12 September, to three years in prison. This was immediately reduced to two years and a 1,000 THB fine (£23.59).
Human rights groups have hit out at the charge and sentencing with Amnesty International’s Deputy Secretary General Kyle Ward saying: “The mock fashion show was a satirical take on the political situation of the country – a peaceful public event akin to a street festival with music, food and dancing.
"Participants should not be punished for participating in a peaceful assembly.
“This sentence, which is at least the 10th conviction for lèse-majesté – or insulting the monarchy – handed down since 2021, is a chilling prelude of what’s to come: a record number of 210 activists and protesters have been charged under Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code since the beginning of overwhelmingly peaceful mass protests in 2020."
The human rights group went on to call for officials to drop the case against Niw: “We urge the authorities to immediately drop all charges against those who have merely exercised their human rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and release those arbitrarily detained.
Amnesty went on to stress that it is the job of Thai authorities to 'protect the peaceful exercise of the rights to expression and assembly' in the country.
However, "instead [they] continue to pursue criminal proceedings against demonstrators, many of them young people or even children. These young protesters should be free to express their opinions and participate in discussions in society, and should not face the prospect of unwarranted prison sentences and criminal records.”
Niw is currently detained at the central Women’s Correctional Institution in Bangkok, where she is awaiting the result of an appeal.
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Topics: News, World News, Thailand, Politics