Thailand revives law banning criticism of king curbing protest

26 November, 2020 12:00 AM printer

BANGKOK: Thailand has revived a controversial law against criticising the royal family in an attempt to curb months of anti-government protests, reports BBC.

Several activists have been summoned to face charges under the lèse-majesté law, which carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for each count. It is the first time in over two years that such charges have been filed.

Thailand has been rocked by student-led protests for months, with demonstrators demanding changes to the monarchy. Protesters are also calling for constitutional reforms and the removal of the country’s prime minister.

On Tuesday, a prominent student activist, 22-year-old Parit Chiwarak, said he had received a summons for lèse-majesté - among other charges - but that he was “not afraid”.

“The ceiling has been broken. Nothing can contain us anymore,” he tweeted, along with a photo of the summons.

At least six other key protest leaders, including human rights lawyer Anon Nampa and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, are expected to face the same charges, according to reports. Thailand’s lèse-majesté law, which forbids any insult to the monarchy, is among the strictest in the world.

The reintroduction of charges under the lèse-majesté law comes ahead of a planned demonstration on Wednesday at the Crown Property Bureau, an institution that controls the royal fortune on behalf of the monarchy, located in the capital, Bangkok.