Thai singer ‘Ammy’ gets 4 years for burning King’s image in 2021 protest

BANGKOK: Lawyers petition for bail as court hits singer and another activist with sentences for violating three laws, including lese majeste

Thai singer Chaiyamon Kaewwibunphan, better known as “Ammy the Bottom Blues”, was slapped with a four-year jail term over lese majeste charges for setting fire to the King’s portrait during a protest in 2021.

The Criminal Court ruled on Monday that Chaiyamon, along with another activist Thanapat Kapeng, had breached Articles 112 and 217 of the Penal Code as well as Article 14 of the 2017 Computer Crimes Act.

However, unlike Chaiyamon, 21-year-old Thanapat was handed two years in prison.

Article 112 is the draconian lese majeste law, while Article 217 punishes those who set fire to things belonging to other people. Article 14 of the Computer Crimes Act prohibits people from entering inappropriate information into a computer system.

The court said both activists had violated these laws when they set fire to King Rama X’s portrait outside Klong Prem Prison during a protest in 2021, adding that this could be considered an act of malice and insult to the King. It also said that Chaiyamon had posted images of this incident on Facebook, making it public and thus affecting national security.

Lawyers for both activists have appealed for bail. On April 25, Chaiyamon, 35, failed to appear in court for the hearing, citing health problems.

According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, as many as 272 people have been slapped with lese majeste charges in 303 cases between November 24, 2020 and May 10 this year.

Among them is opposition Move Forward MP Chonticha Jaengraew, who was sentenced to two years in jail on Monday morning. The court had granted her bail as of press time. - The Nation/ANN

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