Pro-democracy Activists Face Prison Sentences After Criticising The Thai Mona

Pro-democracy Activists Face Prison Sentences After Criticising The Thai Mona


Jessica Cook 

Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence

On January 9th 2023, Bangkok Criminal Court ordered the detention of pro-democracy activists Sopon Surariddhidhamrong and Natthanit Duangmusit. The two activists were known for their work on raising awareness about enforced disappearance and work rights in Thailand, through their work with the Thalu Wang group [1].

They face lèse majesté charges under article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code which prohibits defamation or insults aimed at the monarch. This follows several online campaigns in which Duangmusit conducted political opinion polls questioning certain privileges of the Thai monarch, such as the budget allocated to him and the issue of abuse of power [1].

Another pro-democracy activist, Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon has allegedly been on a hunger strike since April 2022 whilst awaiting her trial for crimes of lèse majesté. She is also accused of defamation after she posted a video on Facebook criticising the Monarch [3].

The lèse majesté article in the Thai criminal code is one of the strictest in the world, stating ‘Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years’. This poses a major threat to freedom of expression, with citizens’ online activism being actively monitored by the Thai government [4]. 

Sources and further reading:

[1]  FIDH. (2023, January 13). Thailand: Arbitrary detention of two pro-democracy activists. International Federation for Human Rights. Retrieved on January 18 from: 

[3] Human Rights Watch (2022, May 23). Thailand: Free Detained Monarchy Reform Activists. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved on January 18 from: 

[4]. Article 19 (2021, March 4). Thailand: Repeal repressive lèse-majesté provision. Article 19. Retrieved on January 18 from: