November 2023: a total of 1,935 people have been politically prosecuted in 1,262 cases

In November, political prosecution continued, including the filing of at least four new lese-majeste cases. Meanwhile, various courts have passed verdicts in lese-majeste cases week after week, driving the number of people detained during and after trials up by at least 20. As for the situation regarding sedition charges under Section 116, the courts have both acquitted as well as convicted one case each. In a case arising from a protest in 2015, the public prosecutor issued an order of non-indictment eight years after it was brought.

According to the TLHR statistics, at least 1,935 people have been prosecuted in 1,262 cases due to their participation in political assemblies and expressions since the beginning of the “Free Youth” protest on 18 July 2020 until 30 November 2023.

Among this number are 217 cases involving 286 children and youth under 18 years old.

Compared to October 2023, five more people have been prosecuted, resulting in an increase of nine cases (counting only those accused who have never been prosecuted before).

If we also count and include those who have been charged repeatedly in multiple cases, we find that there have been at least 3,939 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 Penal Code: at least 262 individuals in 285 cases.

2. The “sedition” charge under Section 116 of the Penal Code: at least 135 individuals in 43 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 179 people in 91 cases.

5. Charges under the Computer Crime Act: at least 195 people in 213 cases.

6. Contempt of court charge: at least 42 people in 24 cases and insult to the court charge involving at least 34 people in 10 cases.

Of these 1,262 cases, 463 have been rendered final, meaning over 800 cases are still ongoing at various stages.


The following key events have been observed as part of the prosecution trend in November 2023:

Citizens continue to be regularly arrested and accused three years after the revival of the lese-majeste law, with four new cases emerging last month. The number of detainees during and after trials has soared to 20.

November marks three years since Section 112 of the Penal Code, or the lese-majeste law, was brought back into force. Previously, towards the end of 2020, the government had implemented a policy against the use of the provision to accuse citizens in new cases. But the situation of protests calling for monarchical reform led to changes in the said policy. Over the past three years, an unprecedented number of lawsuits have been brought under this charge, and the situation continues until this day (Please read Three Years after the Return of the Lese-Majeste law: Ten Observations).

In November, to the knowledge of TLHR, there have been at least four new lese-majeste lawsuits filed against three people. In one case, James Nattakarn, a 37-year-old motorbike taxi driver in Thonburi area who had posted three texts on his social media, was arrested and brought to Mueang Phatthalung Police Station. The charges were a result of a complaint filed by a leader of the King Protection Group. The Phatthalung Provincial Court did not grant bail for James during the inquiry stage. As a result, James remains imprisoned at Phatthalung Central Prison until now.

In another case, “Bang-ern,” an independent artist from Khon Kaen, went to hear the charges at Chana Songkhram Police Station for his second case. This case is also a result of a complaint filed by Anon Klinkaew, leader of the People’s Center for the Protection of the Monarchy, for his post showing a pair of shoes pointing at a royal portrait. In another case, “Taam,” a citizen from Chainat, went to hear the charges at the Technological Crime Suppression Division because he had commented on a post by the “KTUK” Facebook Page on 1 March 2021. The above three cases have all been filed by individuals affiliated with pro-monarchy groups.

Moreover, TLHR has also found a detainee in a lese-majeste case who is being held during the inquiry stage at Bangkok Remand Prison. “Maggi,” a 26-year-old member of the LGBTIQ+ community, has been arrested, charged, and detained for posting 18 tweets, and was not granted  access to a lawyer nor the right to bail.



Meanwhile, the Court of First Instance passed verdicts in four more lese-majeste cases, including two where the defendants went to trial, and two where they confessed.

In the two cases that underwent trials, the Court acquitted Natchanon Pairote, who had been accused of printing a book containing the transcription of a speech calling for 10 monarchy reform proposals. The Thanyaburi Court held that the Plaintiff’s witnesses and evidence failed to show that the defendant was the producer or the possessor of the said publication.

On the other hand, the Court has convicted Chotechuang, who had been accused of setting fire to a royal portrait in Bang Kruai District. The Nonthaburi Provincial Court ruled that the royal portraits hold an equal value to the King himself. The defendant’s act was intended to be seen by the public, which gave a reason to believe that he had anti-monarchy ideas. Chotechuang was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, but was released temporarily on bail during appeal.

As for the cases with confessions, the courts gave minimum sentences in both. In the case against Paul, the Kampaeng Phet Provincial Court decided to suspend his sentence, while in the case against “Homdaeng,” the Criminal Court has not suspended the sentence but has allowed bail during appeal.



Two cases in the Appeal Court have received judgments. In one case, though the court has affirmed the first court’s decision convicting “Petch Thanakorn,” a youth who gave a speech at the Wong Wian Yai protest, of royal defamation, it has modified the sentence from attendance at the Juvenile Training and Education Center for one year and six months at the minimum, to a suspended sentence for two years, including a probation for the entire period instead.

In the other case, the Appeal Court Region 1 affirmed the order of acquittal for “Nakorn” by Samut Prakan Provincial Court, as it was ruled that the Plaintiff’s evidence and witnesses were inadequate to prove that the defendant had posted the statements as alleged.

TLHR has also become aware of the case against “Kijja,” who has been accused of lese-majeste at the Criminal Court for Facebook posts. The Supreme Court’s verdict reaffirmed the Appeal Court’s decision to sentence Kijja to 3 years’ imprisonment, reduced to one year and six months without suspension, given his confession. As such, Kijja’s case has become final, and he has already been brought to Bangkok Remand Prison to serve his penalty. In this case, the defendant has decided to hire a lawyer on his own.

As far as we know, until the end of November, the number of people detained during lese-majeste trials has risen to at least 14. The courts that had previously refused bail for the defendants remain unchanged in their decision throughout the entire month.

Six detainees have had their cases finalized, one of them being Wat, a barber from Ratchaburi province, who decided not to appeal the sentence of imprisonment for a term of one year and six months.



Verdicts have been coming out periodically for the Emergency Decree cases related to protests, some of which have moved on to higher courts, while sedition cases are still marred with enforcement and interpretation issues.

In November, the courts passed verdicts for three more Emergency Decree cases arising from the protests in 2020-2022. Rung-Mike-Kru Yai, accused in the case of the 10 February 2021 protest at Pathumwan Intersection Skywalk, have been acquitted, as the Court found that it did not appear that the trio were the organizers and/or posted to invite people to join the protest. However, Bangkok South Criminal Court instead ruled the three defendants guilty of Section 215, last paragraph, seeing that protesters had thrown objects into Pathumwan Police Station in their calling for the release of political detainees. Rung, Mike, and Kru Yai have been sentenced to nine months in prison without suspension. That said, they have been granted bail during appeal.

The Appeal Court passed a verdict for the two Pattani Car Mob cases that had a joint trial. The Appeal Court Region 9 still found one of the defendants, Sukriffee Lateh, guilty as charged and sentenced him to a total of four months in jail and a 40,000 Baht fine. The jail term has been suspended for two years.

Meanwhile, the Appeal Court Region 6 has remanded the decision of the Court of First Instance in the Khampaeng Phet Car Mob case and sent it back for a re-trial. The lower court’s decision was considered unlawful, as more than one judge’s signature was required for a case with a sentence of fine exceeding 10,000 Baht.

The Emergency Decree lawsuits related to political protests of 2020-2022 are ongoing until today, many of which still have a long journey ahead.



Last month defendants accused of the “sedition-like” charges under Section 116 of the Penal Code have been both acquitted and convicted by the courts. The case involving the distribution of Thai Federation handouts has been dismissed by Nonthaburi Provincial Court, whereas “Paan Talufah,” accused of being the admin of Talufah Facebook page and posting to invite people to join a protest, has been found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison without suspension. The Court held that the defendant in the latter case had the intention to create confusion among the people and was aware of the risk of Covid-19 transmission. That said, the Court has granted bail during appeal.

The Attorney General has finally issued an to the “14 former students” of the New Democracy movement, along with Sulak Sivaraksa, Baramee Chairat, and Sirikan “June” Charoensiri, accused in the case of the anti-coup demonstration from Thammasat University, Tha Prachan Campus, to the Democracy Monument on 25 June 2015. Eight years later, the Attorney General has ordered not to indict this case under Section 116, seeing that it merely concerned an assembly of people with differing political opinions who disagreed with the government that was elected. Nevertheless, a long time has passed until the order has come out, and the 14 former students have spent 12 days in jail during the inquiry stage.

The use of Section 116 is problematic both in terms of its text as well as its enforcement and interpretation. Consequently, the provision has been used as a tool to suppress political protests and expression. This notable phenomenon is partly a legacy of the NCPO government.