A Thai court has found an activist guilty of “mocking” the monarchy after she dressed up like the Thai queen during a protest in 2020.
25-year-old Jatuporn “New” Saeoueng was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday Sep. 12 for being part of a street protest in Bangkok where she walked down a red carpet wearing a pink traditional dress while another protester held an umbrella for her.
Her dress resembled that worn by the Thai queen on public events.
As Jatuporn walked down the red carpet, people alongside had chanted, “Long live the queen”.
The street performance was meant to protest member of the royal family allegedly using THB13 million (US$416,000) in public funds to promote Princess Sirivannavari’s fashion show, according to local media Coconuts.
In Thailand, the lèse-majesté law makes it illegal to insult, defame or threaten the king, the queen and other members of the royal family, and sentences range from three to 15 years in prison.
Before the court ruling, Jatuporn said in an interview that she had “no intention to mock anyone.”
“I dressed for myself on that day, for a version of myself in a Thai traditional dress,” she said, according to AP.
The palace and court have not commented on the case.
More and more activist have been accused of “insulting” the monarchy in Thailand, since King Maha Vajiralongkorn became the ruling monarch in 2019.
Activists have criticized the expenses of the royal family and the country’s use of the military to maintain the monarchy’s power.
In January last year, a 63-year-old former civil servant, was sentenced to a record 43 years in prison for sharing audio clips deemed to be insulting the monarchy on social media.
According to human rights groups in Thailand, members of the royal family have used this lèse-majesté law to accuse around 210 activist since November 2020.
“The mock fashion show was a satirical take on the political situation of the country – a peaceful public event akin to a street festival,” Amnesty International said, according to the BBC. “Participants should not be punished for participating in a peaceful assembly.”