By Reuters Staff, published by Microsoft News
AN aide to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha today (Feb. 18) filed a criminal complaint accusing an opposition lawmaker of insulting His Majesty the King, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Thailand has seen a sharp increase in use of the “lese majeste” law since youth-led street protests last year broke a taboo by demanding reform of the powerful monarchy.
Suporn Attawong, an assistant to the prime minister’s Office, reported Amarat Chokepamitkul from the Move Forward Party to the cybercrime police on suspicion of breaking the law with her Facebook posts.
This law is Section 112 of the Criminal Code and is usually referred to as the lese majeste law,
“We see Amarat posting offensive things and we have found evidence that this lawmaker is involved with other 112 offenders by providing funding and joining demonstrations,” Suporn told reporters.
“We also found many posts related to the monarchy or mocking His Majesty the King,” Suporn said, without specifying which posts.
Amarat told reporters she was not worried about the complaint.
“I am doing my duty as a member of the opposition, and I want the prime minister to answer the accusations inside parliament rather than resorting to this tactic,” she said.
Amarat had on Tuesday accused Prayuth of abusing his power during a four-day censure debate, proposed by the opposition, against the prime minister and nine members of the cabinet.
All are likely to survive the no confidence votes, which are scheduled for this weekend.
Since November, at least 59 people have been charged with lese majeste, according to records compiled by the campaign group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.
This month, four activists were remanded in prison pending trial after being accused of actions that damaged the monarchy and “hurt the feelings of loyal Thai subjects”.
Top: A bird’s eye view of demonstration at Sanam Luang on September 19, 2020 released by an anonymous member of Free Youth group and shared by Thai Rath.
Home Page: Prime Minister Prayut. Photo: Reuters and shared by Microsoft News
(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Ed Davies and Kevin Liffey)