BANGKOK — A lawyer has accused junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha’s brother and sister-in-law of committing lese majeste by imitating royalty in photos spread on social media.
Benjarat Methian, a lawyer who claims to serve justice and Buddhism, lodged the complaints today to the Technology Crime Suppression Division over half a dozen photos where Senator Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha and his wife Phongphan Chan-ocha appear to be playing at being royals.
One of the photos shows Preecha wearing a white uniform, sitting on a gilded throne-like armchair with his wife. In another photo, Phongphan sits on a chair while receiving a garland on a tray from a traditional female dancer kneeling in front of her.
Benjarat said that the pair could be mistaken for royals, calling for the law to be applied equally.
The lawyer appeared to file the complaints with an unidentified man who was wearing a Future Forward Party t-shirt and baseball cap. A Future Forward spokeswoman told Khaosod English that they pair had nothing to do with the party, though added that the party is against using the lese majeste law.
Ekachai Hongkangwan, a former lese majeste convict, took to Facebook Thursday afternoon to lambast the use of Article 112 of the Criminal Code, even against members of the political establishment.
“I don’t agree with using the lese majeste law, no matter whose side it’s used against,” wrote Ekachai.
While dissidents have felt the brunt of the lese-majeste law, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years, conservatives and monarchists themselves have sometimes been caught up in accusations.
On Monday, Parina Kraikup, an MP from the pro-junta Phalang Pracharath party, informally accused Future Forward MP Pannika Wanich of committing lese majeste in graduation photos that show the latter pointing to a photo of King Rama IX.