A human rights lawyer might be facing a jail term of 150 years if convicted on 10 counts of royal defamation under Thailand’s harsh royal insult law, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said on Thursday.
Prawet Prapanukul, 57, provided legal assistance to members of a political opposition group, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, and served as legal counsel in a high-profile royal insult case.
He was detained in a raid on his home by police and troops last weekend.
Prawet who appeared in a Bangkok court was charged with 10 counts of royal insult and three counts of breaking Section 116 of Thailand’s criminal code, the equivalent of sedition.
“Prawet faces 10 counts of breaking Article 112, so that works out to up to 150 years in prison if he is found guilty.
“He is also facing three separate charges of breaking Article 116 which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison for each offence,” Anon Nampha of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said.
It was not immediately clear what Prawet had written or said that led to his arrest and charges.
A spokesman for the military government said he was unable to comment on the case.
Thailand’s military seized power from an elected civilian government in a May 2014 coup.
Since then, the junta has detained hundreds of politicians, activists, journalists and others accused of being involved in anti-junta protests and activities.
Some have been held incommunicado in unofficial places of detention, such as military camps.
It has also taken a hardline stance against suspected transgressors of Article 112 of the criminal code which makes anyone found guilty of insulting the monarchy liable to imprisonment for up to 15 years.
The lawyers’ group said Prawet was charged along with five others, who also faced charges under the royal insult law.
Prawet is in pre-trial detention at a Bangkok remand prison after being held incommunicado at the 11th Army Circle base in Bangkok, a facility the military uses as a temporary prison.
The group Human Rights Watch urged the military to observe due process.
“Even though lese majeste is a serious criminal offense in Thailand, authorities have no justification to breach due process and fair trial standards.
“The military regime has aggressively used lese majeste charges to clamp down on any speech and opinion they find objectionable,” Sunai Phasuk, Thailand researcher at Human Rights Watch said.
Lese majeste laws have an impact on what any news organisation, including Reuters, can report about issues relating to Thailand’s monarchy.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, ascended the throne in December following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016.
Thailand is observing a year of mourning for King Bhumibol who was seen as semi-divine by many people.
His cremation will be held in October.
Political activity has largely ceased to mark the period of mourning.
The government has said that an election to restore democracy will be held in 2018, although a date has not been fix.
Nigerian Youth Have Right To Protest, Says President Buhari
Nigerian youths have taken to the streets to call for an end to widespread police brutality.
Despite the protest, security agents have clamped down on protesters in Oyo, Abuja, Lagos and other parts of the country.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with Buhari on Monday, the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare quoted Buhari as saying that it was the right of the youths to protest and make certain demands from their leaders.
According to the minister, the president asked the protesters to give his administration time to address their demands as the team set up has already gone to work.
#EndSARS Protest: Edo Govt Sets-Up Judicial Panel
In a bid to quell the ongoing #EndSARS protest, the Edo State Government has set up a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate cases of police brutality in Edo State.
Secretary to the state government, Osarodion Ogie made this announcement in a statement on Monday
He said the panel is set up, “in response to the yearnings of Nigerian youths, as articulated in the demands of the #EndSars protesters.”
The members of the panel are to receive complaints and petitions from the general public, particularly victims or relatives of victims of police brutality and extra-judicial killings, and to recommend measures, including compensation and restitution, investigation, and prosecution, as the circumstances warrant.
Hoodlums attack Rapid Response Squad officers in Lagos (Video)
Thugs have forced men of the Rapid Response Squad, Lagos state police command to flee for their dear lives after attacking their van.
The incident happened along Herbert Macaulay way in Yaba on Monday morning October 19.
The thugs threw stones and other dangerous weapons at the officers who immediately jumped down from the van and started running for their lives.
The state police command is yet to react to the incident.
RRS officers run for their lives after thugs attacked their van in Lagos (videos)RRS officers run for their lives after thugs attacked their van in Lagos (videos)
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