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Thai activists denied bail over royal family insults

March 8, 2021

Three pro-democracy figures have been charged with violating royal defamation laws over a rally in Bangkok last year. They were also charged with sedition, along with 15 other protesters.

Thailand Protesters Panusaya Rung Sithijirawattanakul, Panupong "Mike" Jadnok, and Jatupat "Pai" Boonpattararaksa
The activists are facing charges of insulting the monarchyImage: ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA/REUTERS

A court in Thailand has denied bail to three pro-democracy activists who have been charged with insulting the monarchy

The three activists — Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul, Panupong "Mike" Jadnok and Jatupat "Pai" Boonpattararaksa — were accused of violating royal defamation laws following a rally in the Thai capital last September, a spokesman for the attorney general said.

Pro-democracy protests in Thailand

Jatupat posted on Facebook on Monday afternoon that he, Panusaya and Panupong had been remanded in custody.

"Fight on everyone," he wrote.

They were also charged with sedition along with 15 other pro-democracy protesters. The court released the other activists on bail for 350,000 Thai baht ($11,350/€9,570). The sedition charges carry a penalty of up to seven years in prison.

The Thai government is currently trying to quell growing dissatisfaction with the royal family.

Corruption and the lese-majeste law in Thailand

Thailand's youth movement has posed the biggest challenge so far to Prime Minister and former coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, who protesters say designed the rules of the 2019 election to keep himself in power. Prayuth's government has denied any wrongdoing.

Protesters also say the constitution gives Thai king Maha Vajiralongkorn too much power and have called upon the monarch to renounce his royal fortune.

In January, a former civil servant was sentenced to a record prison term of 43 years and six months, for violating the country's lese-majeste law — Thailand's strict legislation on insulting or defaming the monarchy.