BANGKOK — A well-known royal descendant was acquitted Wednesday of libel for an online post which he claimed the Future Forward Party was seeking to overthrow the monarchy.
Chulcherm Yugala, a distant relative of King Rama V and holder of royally-bestowed title Mom Chao, was acquitted after the Criminal Court ruled that his Facebook post was a “positive criticism” intended to warn the plaintiff against royal defamation.
Chulcherm took to Facebook after the verdict was announced to thank the court.
“I am thankful to the court, who exercised rightful judgement on my case without any prejudice. I hope the matter will end now, and urge everyone to forgive each other,” he wrote.
He accused the party of aiming to overthrow the monarchy in a now-deleted Facebook post dated March 4, which was just weeks before Election Day on March 24.
“The party has been established by those youths and Western philosophy-obsessed acamedics (the cronies of the People’s Party) who are finding a discreet way to topple the monarchy,” reads Chulcherm’s post, referring to a coalition who overthrew Thailand’s absolute monarchy in 1932.
“I hope the society will know how to respond with this revolutionary model which brought down French monarchy of this party,” the post said.
Despite the party’s accusation that Chulcherm was trying to mislead its constituents, the court ruled that his comments did not compromise the party’s reputation as it turned out that the party was able to secure 80 seats in the parliament.
The court added that Chulcherm is a royal descendant, therefore he had honest intentions to defend the monarchy.
Neither the plaintiff, Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, nor the defendant were present at the courtroom yesterday.
Writing on Facebook after the verdict, Chulcherm said he would continue to protect the monarchy.
“I will continue to be the weir against the tidal waves of those who plot against the monarchy and the kingdom,” he said.
Allegation of disloyalty to the monarchy is often weaponized against political rivals in Thailand, where any negative remark about the Royal Family is punishable by up to 15 years in jail.