Urgent Action: Defamation Charges Used to Silence Dissent (Thailand: UA 71.19)
Police have charged prominent activists Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, Sirawit ‘Ja New’ Seritiwat, and Phayaw Akkahad with defamation by publication under Article 328 of the Thai Criminal Code which carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail. The Election Commission accused the three of making defamatory speeches during a public campaign to impeach the commissioners in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city. Summoned to Phayathai Police Station on 30 April, they have denied all charges. The case appears to be politically motivated and is part of the crackdown on individuals who criticise the constitutionally independent body.