On Tuesday, a 26-year-old man from Taling Chan in Thailand was sentenced to 2-years in prison for distributing calendars containing cartoon ducks that allegedly resembled Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, whose formal title is Rama X.
The man was sentenced under Thailand’s Lèse-majesté law, which according to Section 112 of the Thai criminal code makes it an offense to defame, threaten or insult The Royal Family. The Lèse-majesté law has been in place since 1908.
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) identified the man as “Ton Mai.” Mai allegedly sold the “Yellow Duck Calendar 2021” through a Facebook group which had the same title as Thai anti-establishment group Ratsadorn.
The prosecutors acknowledged that while the ducks did not look like Rama X, the phrases they used and the attire they were wearing could be perceived as mocking both Rama X and his family.
A duck can be seen wearing a sash in one picture complete with medallions, the picture is captioned “No 10.” In another picture, a duck is wearing a black crop top like one the King was pictured in by a tabloid journalist. The court ruled that six of the pictures in the calendar could be perceived as mocking Rama X.
Mai was initially sentenced to 3 years in prison, which is the minimum term under Lèse-majesté, however this was reduced to 2 years without parole as a result of Mai’s co-operation with the prosecutors and the court.
TLHR reported that 233 people have fallen foul of Lèse-majesté since November 2020.
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