| 24 April 2024, Wednesday |

Thailand pro-democracy activists cleared of charges for alleged violence against Queen Suthida

In Thailand, a court has cleared five anti-government protesters of charges related to alleged attempted violence against the country’s queen during a demonstration that took place in 2020. The incident occurred in Bangkok, the capital city, where demonstrators reportedly obstructed a motorcade carrying Queen Suthida. However, the court concluded in its verdict that the defendants’ actions were not intended to hinder or cause harm to the queen or her motorcade.
The incident as per Reuters took place during the height of pro-democracy protests in Thailand, when a motorcade carrying Queen Suthida was heckled by protesters.
The demonstrations, led by the youth, called for various reforms, including changes to the lese majeste law, which imposes severe penalties for perceived insults against the monarchy.
The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, however, in its latest statement that the court recognised that the police did not clear the way for the royal motorcade and that there was no prior announcement about the procession. They also pointed out the differing testimonies of witnesses and the lack of awareness among police in the area about the motorcade’s route.

Reporting the acquittal, legal aid group, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights on Wednesday said that “The court saw that police did not clear the way for the royal motorcade … there was no announcement before the procession.”

“Witness testimony was different and even police in the area did not know there would be a royal motorcade (passing through),” said the group.

Thailand’s lese majeste law
In Thailand, many consider the monarchy “sacrosanct” and the royals are officially above politics and constitutionally enshrined to be treated with “revered worship”.

Thailand’s lese majeste law, which is among the world’s strictest, imposes harsh penalties for any perceived insult to the monarchy. Offences under the law can carry a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

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