Politics

Thai politician indicted for royal insult over vaccine speech


Thailand has one of many world’s strictest lese majeste legal guidelines and a conviction carries a most sentence of 15 years

BANGKOK, April 11 (Reuters) – A outstanding Thai politician faces as much as 20 years in jail following his indictment on Monday, April 11, for insulting the king and violating a cyber legislation, after he criticized the federal government for over-reliance on a royal-owned agency to produce COVID-19 vaccines.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the 43-year-old chief of the disbanded Future Ahead Celebration, is accused of lese majeste and breaking cyber legal guidelines in a January, 2021 Fb Stay stream, throughout which he stated the federal government had mishandled its vaccine marketing campaign and unfairly favored Siam Bioscience, a agency owned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Thailand has one of many world’s strictest lese majeste legal guidelines and a conviction carries a most sentence of 15 years, whereas breaches of its pc crimes act are punishable by as much as 5 years in jail.

Thanathorn, who was granted bail on Monday, denies insulting the monarchy and stated his criticism was directed on the authorities, not the royal household.

“What I did was intended for public benefit and to protect the royal institution,” he instructed reporters.

“I want to stress that the usage of this law is not a good thing, and certainly not good for the monarchy,” he added, referring to the lese majeste legislation.

Siam Bioscience, which had not produced vaccines previous to final 12 months, was chosen to fabricate the COVID vaccine of Britain’s AstraZeneca for distribution in Southeast Asia. It additionally obtained $20 million in authorities subsidies to develop its capability.

Thanathorn had additionally complained the federal government ought to have diversified its sources of vaccines.

Thailand subsequently used three several types of COVID-19 vaccines, which Thanathorn stated was proof his remarks had been within the public curiosity.

The grievance towards him was lodged by an official within the prime minister’s workplace. The federal government, AstraZeneca and Siam Bioscience have stood by the vaccine manufacturing settlement.

The workplace of the lawyer basic didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Thanathorn was banned from politics for 10 years in 2020 by the Constitutional Courtroom over a mortgage he gave his former
opposition celebration. His indictment comes as scores of members of a pupil pro-democracy motion affiliated together with his celebration await trial on related fees, which they deny. – Rappler.com



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