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Life Ban For ‘Disrespecting Monarchy’ For Former Thai MP

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A Thai politician and activist was barred from politics for life today for violating “ethical standards” by using photos from a decade ago that were deemed disrespectful to the kingdom’s revered monarchy.

Pannika Wanich, an activist with the progressive Move Forward Party and former MP and spokesman for the now-defunct Future Forward Party, has faced numerous lawsuits over allegations of disrespecting the monarchy.

Thailand has strict royal defamation laws that prohibit any criticism of King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his close family, which critics claim are used to silence dissent.

“The (Supreme) Court ruled that she has violated the ethical standards of a person who holds a political position,” Pannika’s lawyer Krissadang Nutcharat told AFP.

“For the rest of her life, the court has barred her from participating in politics.”

The case was filed with the National Anti-Corruption Commission in 2019 by Srisuwan Janya, a royalist activist and serial petitioner, over Facebook posts published on Pannika’s personal account.

He claimed that photos, including one from her 2010 graduation in which she was seen pointing at former King Rama IX, were disrespectful to the monarchy.

Srisuwan claimed Pannika violated the “ethical standards that a person with political position” must uphold in order to hold public office, which include respect for the monarchy.

Today, the Supreme Court upheld his complaint.

Pannika was also charged with violating the Computer Crime Act in a separate case after she shared an old poem online.

This year, a court dismissed the charges, ruling that the poem, which centred on the Ayutthaya period hundreds of years ago, was widely available.

Pannika, the only woman on the Future Forward Party’s executive board, was previously barred from holding political office for a decade following the party’s dissolution in 2020.

Info source – Free Malaysia Today

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