Dressing up in traditional Thai costume could mean 15 years behind bars for two people who did so at a protest satirizing the monarchy.
Jatuporn Sae-ung, 23, and Nopphasin Trirayapiwat, 16, appeared this morning at Bangkok’s Yannawa Police Station to acknowledge charges of lese majeste, ostensibly stemming from their participation in a street “fashion show” lampooning the king’s royal consort Sineenat Bilaskalayani and a servant at an October event.
The pair are among dozens who have been charged in recent weeks with insulting the royal family. Just yesterday, an actress who has publicly supported the pro-democracy movement, Inthira “Sai” Charoenpura, was summoned to hear the same charge.
While use of the draconian law, which makes each offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison, had lapsed for several years until recently as dissent against the monarchy has been openly expressed.
Jatuporn told reporters that she didn’t intend to insult the royal and just dressed according to the theme of the fashion runway event. Jatuporn said that Nopphasin, who followed with an umbrella over her head, was promoting merchandise they intended to sell there. She said she will fight the criminal complaint filed by a pro-establishment figure.
Within a month, pro-democracy students and activists to be charged under the law, Article 112 of the Penal Code, have included lawyer Arnon Nampa and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak.
After weeks of nearly daily protests, organizers announced recently that they have suspended activities until after New Year’s.