Court Releases Teen Held on 112 Charge After 50 Days Detention

On Thursday afternoon, a 15-year-old girl was freed after spending 50 days in detention for allegedly defaming the royalty, as reported by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

Earlier that day, police officers from the Samran Rat station had approached the Central Juvenile and Family Court, seeking to extend Thanalop “Yok” Phalanchai’s detention, but the court denied their request.

Around 4 pm, Yok was released from the Ban Pranee Juvenile Vocational Training Center for Girls in Nakhon Pathom, where she had been detained since March 29. A group of joyful supporters welcomed her on the premises.

Yok’s case has become the most prominent among 19 cases involving minors charged with lese-majeste under Section 112 of the Criminal Code. She has been in custody longer than any other, despite not being the youngest.

A girl from Phitsanulok, who was set free on bail after a court session this week, was 14 years and one month old at the time of the alleged crime, as TLHR noted.

Yok was taken into custody on March 28th, coinciding with the arrest of a 24-year-old male who was caught damaging the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok by spray-painting a “No 112” message on its wall.

At the time of the arrest, police claimed to have a warrant for the girl, who allegedly insulted the monarchy during a protest in October 2022 in front of Bangkok City Hall. She was 14 years old at that time.

In response to criticism about her prolonged detention, the Central Juvenile and Family Court issued a statement the previous week. The statement mentioned that the girl’s extended detention was due to her mother’s failure to show up for her bail.

The court’s claim that the defendant had “rejected justice” by refusing to participate in court proceedings and showing her back to the judge was also disputed by TLHR.

“Because Yok rejected only the justice system, she did not reject justice,” TLHR clarified.

According to the latest data from TLHR up to April 30 this year, since the start of the Free Youth pro-democracy protests in July 2020, 1,902 individuals have faced prosecution for political involvement and expression.

Of these, at least 242 are confronted with lese-majeste allegations, and 130 are charged with sedition.