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Progressive party challenges Thailand's royal defamation law

Thai establishment is vociferously opposed to any discussion of the lese majeste law, much less amendments to it

UCA News reporter, Bangkok

UCA News reporter, Bangkok

Published: February 03, 2021 08:41 AM GMT

Updated: February 03, 2021 08:42 AM GMT

Progressive party challenges Thailand's royal defamation law

Maverick politician Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has been charged simply for raising questions about a newly formed company under the Crown Property Bureau that has been granted permission to handle Thailand’s faltering Covid-19 vaccination drive. (Photo: AFP)

Thailand’s draconian royal defamation law has long been panned by rights advocates and progressive Thais alike as deeply undemocratic, and now a few brave opposition politicians are hoping to do something about it.

Staunch royalists and pro-establishment members of Thailand’s military-dominated parliament will have none of it, however. They are up in arms over any attempts to have the highly controversial lese majeste law debated by lawmakers.

In a courageous move, a progressive party of opposition politicians called Move Forward, which was formed last year after a popular liberal party called Future Forward was disbanded by a court over a legal technicality, has signaled its intent to challenge Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code.

The law prescribes a mandatory minimum of three years and a maximum of 15 years in prison for anyone convicted of defaming members of the royal family.

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