Home » Human Rights Watch urges Thai authorities to release teenager detained for defaming monarchy

Human Rights Watch urges Thai authorities to release teenager detained for defaming monarchy

by Derek Andrews
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) Friday called on Thai authorities to launch a 15-year-old pupil activist who was detained after allegedly defaming the nation’s monarchy. Thanalop “Yok” Phalanchai was arrested in Bangkok on 28 March after police accused her of criticising the monarchy throughout a protest rally in October 2022. She was later charged with lèse-majesté (insulting the monarchy) offences and is being held on the Justice Ministry’s Ban Pranee Juvenile Vocational Coaching Centre for Women in Nakhon Pathom awaiting trial.

Asia director for Human Rights Watch Elaine Pearson referred to as for authorities to launch Thanalop and drop the costs.“By arresting a 15-year-old lady, the Thai authorities is sending the spine-chilling message that even kids aren’t protected from being harshly punished for expressing their opinions,” Pearson stated.

Thanalop was charged for allegedly violating article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code, which states, “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Inheritor-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

HRW highlighted how Thanalop’s detainment is in violation of a number of worldwide human rights. HRW particularly claimed Thai authorities had been violating article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by imprisoning Thanalop. HRW additionally acknowledged that lèse-majesté prosecutions violate freedom of expression protected below General Comment 34 of the UN Human Rights Committee.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy dominated by head of state King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and head of presidency, prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha. Arrests below defamation legal guidelines have elevated considerably since 2020 after Chan-ocha ordered article 112 to be restored. Between mid-2020 and September 2022, a minimum of 1,860 people, together with 283 kids, had been charged below lèse-majesté legal guidelines. The UN has beforehand referred to as for article 112 to be repealed and for the discharge of these imprisoned on defamation expenses.

The rally at Bangkok Metropolis Corridor in October 2022 referred to as for the discharge of political detainees and abolition of royal defamation prosecutions.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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