Thai female MP Rukchanok “Ice” Srinork has been sentenced to six years in jail under the country’s harsh lese-majeste laws, which have been used as a reason for blocking Move Forward’s attempt to form a government.
Ice’s Move Forward party, which won this year’s election, had urged reform of the lese-majeste laws, but the unelected senate used this as the main reason for blocking Move Forward’s attempt to form a government.
Opposition to the lese-majeste laws was one of the issues that sparked mass protests in 2020, lasting several months. Around 260 charges have been filed under the lese-majeste law since 2020, with around 2,000 people prosecuted under various laws for their involvement in the protests.
Ice was found guilty of insulting the monarch by a Bangkok court for two posts made before she joined the Move Forward party.
Several other leading figures in the Move Forward party are also facing lese-majeste charges, many of whom were activists who took part in the 2020 protests.
The lese-majeste law is notoriously broad, making mounting a legal defense very difficult. It is regarded officially as a national security law, and it is extremely rare for judges to acquit defendants.
Trials in Thailand often take many years to conclude, meaning the lives of the young activists facing lese-majeste and other charges in relation to the 2020 protests will be consumed for the foreseeable future by incessant court hearings.