July 2023: A total of 1,918 people have been politically prosecuted in 1,230 cases

[Information as of 5 August 2023.]

In light of the problematic formation of the new government, citizens have gathered to call upon the Senate, political parties, and independent organizations to respect their voices. As such, it became imperative to monitor how the laws would be used in response to these activities. In July 2023, the Public Assembly Act was used in 2 more lawsuits against the protests happening during the APEC Summit. Likewise, 2 new lawsuits under the lèse-majesté law were filed as a result of the activities in 2021 – 2022.

According to TLHR statistics, since the beginning of the “Free Youth” protest on 18 July 2020 until 31 July 2023, at least 1,918 people have been prosecuted in 1,230 cases due to their political participation and expression.

Among this number are 215 cases involving 286 children and youths under 18 years old.

Compared to June 2023, this month’s statistics saw an increase of 2 people and 8 cases (only counting those who had never been charged before).

If we also count those who have been charged repetitively in multiple cases, there would be at least 3,878 instances of prosecution in total.

The prosecution can be grouped according to key charges, as follows:

1. The royal defamation or “lèse-majesté” charge under Section 112 of the Criminal Code: at least 253 individuals in 273 cases.

2. The “sedition” charge under Section 116 of the Criminal Code: at least 130 individuals in 41 cases.

3. Charges of violation of the Emergency Decree: at least 1,469 people in 663 cases (since May 2020 when the first lawsuit against protesters and political activists was filed)

4. Charges under the Public Assembly Act: at least 162 people in 82 cases.

5. Charges under the Computer Crimes Act: at least 181 people in 199 cases.

6. Contempt of court charge: at least 36 people in 20 cases and insult of court charge involving at least 34 people in 10 cases.

Out of the mentioned 1,226 cases, 385 have been concluded. This means over 845 cases are still ongoing at various stages.



The prosecution trends in June 2023 show the following key developments:


2 new lèse-majesté lawsuits emerged, while 5 more people are subjected to detention while awaiting trial or pending appeal.

As far as the statistics of the lèse-majesté cases are concerned, at least 2 new lawsuits have been filed against at least 1 new person, namely Jiratchaya Sakunthong, aka Jinny, who has been accused of lèse-majesté for the first time. On 12 July 2023, she was arrested and brought to be charged at TCSD for doing a live broadcast on Facebook while traveling to attend the anti-PM protest on 25July 2022.

In another case, the police from Lumphini Police Station issued summonses to 2 Thammasat University students to press additional charges against them for attending the 3 September 2021 protest and making speeches allegedly with monarchy-related content. Kiattichai ‘Big’ Tangpornpan has already gone in to acknowledge the charges on 24 July 2023. The police also mentioned that another summons would be issued for Benja Apan, but no further update was heard on this.

Notably, complaints in these two cases were brought by Rapeepong Chaiyarat, a member of the People’s Center for the Protection of the Monarchy.



In the past month, additional charges have been pressed, for example, against ‘Sintu’, an electrical appliance merchant, who had to travel from Chantaburi to the Tamod Police Station in Phatthalung Province in the south one more time, to hear another charge under the Computer Crimes Act on top of the pre-existing lèse-majesté charge. The complaint in this case was filed by a member of the King Protection Group.

Pui” (alias), a 40-year-old citizen, went to TCSD to hear the charges in the beginning of July, after having received a summons citing the lèse-majesté law earlier. She was accused of publishing comments under a post inviting others to receive King Rama X in the “Royalist Marketplace” Facebook Group.



The Court of First Instance has delivered verdicts in at least 4 more lèse-majesté cases last month, including two cases where the defendants, ‘Bell’ and ‘Sainam’, two youths, decided to defend themselves in a trial at Phatthalung Juvenile Court and Bangkok Juvenile Court, respectively. Both were found guilty of royal defamation according to Section 112. In the case against Sainam, the Court decided to suspend the punishment, while Bell’s prison sentence was converted to a two-year training at the Children and Juvenile Training Center. Bell has been granted bail during appeal.

The defendants have made a confession in the other 2 cases. The Bangkok South Criminal Court sentenced ‘Anucha’, who displayed a vinyl banner at the protest on 23 February 2021, to a jail term of 1 year and 6 months, without suspension. He has been granted bail during appeal.

Meanwhile, the Court convicted “Wat” of expressing appreciation for King Rama IX’s work while criticizing King Rama X in an online post and gave him the jail term of the same length. However, the Court of First Instance let the Appeals Court decide whether to grant bail. His bail has been denied until today. As such, the uncertain and unpredictable state of bail orders remains prevalent in lèse-majesté cases.

By the end of July, there were at least 5 detainees in lèse-majesté cases: Wut (during trial at the Court of First Instance), Weha-Teepakorn-Warunee, and Wat (detained during appeal).



Towards the end of the month, another lèse-majesté case also received a verdict by the Appeals Court. The Court affirmed the decision of the Nakhon Panom Provincial Court acquitting Issaret, who had posted about the delays in the coronation of the new King after King Rama IX’s death. According to the Court, even though the defendant had used impolite and harsh words, they neither constituted defamation or insult, nor were considered harboring ill intentions towards the King.


The police issued summonses to APEC protesters in 2 cases, while the courts acquitted defendants in 4 Emergency Decree cases.

At the end of July, many activists received summonses from Phlapphla Chai 2 Police Station containing the offences under the Public Assembly Act as the main charges. It was found that the summonses were split between two cases accusing 19 people in total (1 was accused in both).

Both cases arose from the activities during APEC2022 in November 2022, over eight months ago. The first concerned a protest demanding justice for Payu’s eye injuries in Yaowarat area, leading 8 people to be accused. Some of them have already reported themselves to hear the charges. The second was an anti-APEC protest on 15 November 2022, with 12 people having been summoned. The police set the deadline for acknowledging charges at 9 August 2023.

Amidst the current wave of protests revolving around the formation of a new government, it is thus important to remain vigilant on how the Public Assembly Act is enforced during this period.



As for the existing Emergency Decree cases arising as the result of 2020 – 2022 protests, it was found that the courts acquitted defendants in 4 cases last month, including the Nakhon Si Thammarat car mob case, Uttaradit car mob case (the Court of Appeals Region 6 overturned the decision of the Court of First Instance), the case of spray painting and activities in front of the Bhumjaithai Party, and the case of youths arrested at Major Ratchayothin shopping mall prior to the 6 March 2021 protest. Several cases have shown that the courts’ opinions were along the line that the protests were a legitimate exercise of constitutional rights.

On the contrary, the courts found the defendants in 3 Emergency Decree cases guilty as charged. Two received the punishment of a fine, while in the case against “Ear”, the youngest child to date to be charged in connection with a protest, the Court saw that the defendant was only 12 years old at the time of the commission of the offence (joining the protest in Din Daeng) and exempted him from punishment. Thus, Ear received a warning and got released afterwards.

The trend of the decisions among various courts in the Emergency Decree cases is evidently split into two directions.


2 more detainees in other cases and 2 other noteworthy verdicts

In addition to Wat, whose bail was denied in a lèse-majesté case, 2 more people in politically-motivated cases also ended up behind bars. This includes Ekkachai Hongkangwan, who marched back into jail after the Supreme Court affirmed the one-year prison term under Section 14(4) of the Computer Crimes Act. Ekkachai’s act of telling stories of sex in prison was deemed as impolite, obscene, and sexual in nature. With that, his case has concluded, despite his attempt to challenge how the courts’ method of calculating penalty was harmful to the defendant.

As part of the Thalugas case series, Prawit ‘Bas’, a 20-year-old protester, was sentenced to a jail term of 6 years and 4 months for jointly setting fire to a traffic police booth under the Din Daeng Toll Bridge after the 10 August 2021 protest. The Appeals Court rejected his bail request resulting in him having been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison since 11 July 2023.

Meanwhile, Kathathorn ‘Tah’, the protester prosecuted for possession of explosives, has completed his jail term of 1 year, 3 months, and 15 days and has been released.



Last month, 2 noteworthy court verdicts have also been delivered. In one case, ‘Tiwakorn Witheeton’ had been accused of the ‘sedition’ offence under Section 116 for posting on Facebook an invitation to sign a petition on Change.org regarding the poll with the question about whether the monarchy should be maintained or abolished. The Court of Appeals Region 5 delivered the verdict affirming the judgment (suspended sentence) of the Court of First Instance. This was despite the fact that Tiwakorn tried to argue that his act did not fall within the scope of Section 116, but merely concerned the issue as to whether people wanted to participate in the poll, and thus should not have been held unconstitutional. Tiwakorn is planning to appeal further to the Supreme Court.

In another case, 7 citizens from various provinces had been charged of defamation through publication by civil servants in Udon Thani for sharing a post inviting people to scrutinize the corruption of the “Free Thai Civil Servant” Facebook Page on 26 May 2021 and tried by Udon Thani Provincial Court.

The Court acquitted the defendants seeing that their post was intended to follow up on the scrutiny process and encourage the public to be involved, and that it did not carry an ill intention towards the plaintiff. The Court also held that the act was an expression of opinions in good faith or a fair comment on any person or thing subject to public criticism.