Home » Thailand releases 15-year-old royal defamation detainee

Thailand releases 15-year-old royal defamation detainee

by Derek Andrews
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Thailand’s Central Juvenile and Household Court docket ordered Thursday the discharge of Thanalop “Yok” Phalanchai, a 15-year-old woman who was detained within the Ban Pranee Juvenile Vocational Coaching Centre for Women. Yok, who was arrested on March 28 and detained for a complete of 51 days, was charged beneath Section 112 of Thailand’s Legal Code for criticizing the Thai monarchy throughout a rally in October 2022.

Part 112 of Thailand’s Legal Code stipulates that “[w]hoever defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Inheritor-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” The regulation serves as Thailand’s royal defamation–or lèse-majesté–regulation. It criminalizes defamation, insults and threats to members of the Thai monarchy.

In April, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Elaine Pearson called for Thai authorities to instantly launch Yok and “drop the unjust case in opposition to her for criticizing the monarchy.” Pearson additionally espoused that the Thai authorities arresting a 15-year-old woman would “ship[] the spine-chilling message that even youngsters aren’t protected from being harshly punished for expressing their opinions.” Moreover, Pearson expressed that “[t]he Thai authorities ought to allow peaceable expression of political beliefs, together with questions in regards to the monarchy” and that “Thai authorities ought to interact with UN consultants and others about amending the lèse-majesté regulation to deliver it into compliance with worldwide human rights requirements.”

In condemning Yok’s detention, HRW expressed that Thailand’s lèse-majesté regulation doesn’t absolutely adjust to worldwide human rights requirements. Detaining people charged with lèse-majesté contravenes their rights beneath worldwide human rights regulation as demonstrated within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Thailand has ratified the ICCPR, which inspires legal suspects to be bailed beneath Article 9. As well as, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, additionally ratified by Thailand, states in Article 37(b) that youngsters ought to solely be arrested, detained, or imprisoned “as a measure of final resort and for the shortest acceptable time frame.” Moreover, lèse-majesté expenses could not absolutely adjust to freedom of expression rules beneath the ICCPR, particularly since General Comment 34 on Article 19 of the UN Human Rights Committee means that governments “mustn’t prohibit criticism of establishments.”

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy dominated by head of state King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and head of presidency, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha. Arrests beneath defamation legal guidelines have elevated considerably since 2020 after Chan-ocha ordered article 112 to be restored. Between mid-2020 and September 2022, no less than 1,860 people, together with 283 youngsters, have been charged beneath lèse-majesté legal guidelines. The UN raised alarm over the regulation in February 2021 and known as for article 112 to be repealed. The UN additionally known as for the discharge of these imprisoned on defamation expenses.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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