BANGKOK — A senior government official on Wednesday filed a police complaint accusing a leader of a recent Harry Potter-themed political rally of defaming the monarchy.
Vice Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister Apiwat Kantong named pro-democracy activist Arnon Nampha as the suspect in the complaint filed at Samranrat Police Station. Apiwat said Arnon slandered the monarchy in his speeches at Monday’s rally.
“His speeches infringed upon the monarchy, revered among all Thais,” Apiwat said. “He distorted the truth, and made disparaging, mocking, and instigating remarks that invited others to criticize the monarchy in a public space.”
Apiwat brought to the police documents, audio clips, and video clips of the protest. At the rally, Arnon spoke openly on the need to reform the monarchy – a rare gesture in a country where discussion about the monarchy is punishable by several laws.
“Arnon and the unnamed person who is supporting the protest broke the Emergency Decree as well as many criminal laws,” Apiwat said. “He wanted to damage the monarchy and create division in the country.”
Apiwat said he did not want to see the monarchy criticized any further.
Police Col. Ittipol Pongthorn, superintendent of Samranrat Police, said that he would forward the case to the Chana Songkhram Police since the protest happened under their jurisdiction.
Arnon could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Criticizing the monarchy is often punished by Article 112 of the Penal Codes, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.