11 July 2024

Natthaporn Toprayoon, a former advisor to the ombudsman, is seeking a ruling from Thailand’s Constitutional Court on whether public statements, made by leaders of anti-establishment groups concerning the monarchy at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus on August 10th last year, amount to an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

The Constitutional Court is due to issue its ruling this afternoon (Wednesday).

Yesterday, Natthaporn insisted that he bears no personal grudges against protesters or political parties, who are campaigning for repeal of the lèse majesté law, and might have joined them if they had campaigned for issues which are of public interest, such as reductions in mobile phone charges and oil prices.

Almost two years ago, Natthaporn petitioned the Constitutional Court asking it to dissolve the Future Forward Party (predecessor of the Move Forward Party) for allegedly having a policy against a constitutional monarchy. The court, however, ruled unanimously to dismiss his petition. Soon afterwards, the Future Forward Party was, however, dissolved by the court over 191-million-baht loans.

Natthaporn claims that, in today’s case, he has more solid evidence to support his case against the anti-establishment leaders, including material from Special Branch police alleging that financial support has been accepted from unnamed foreign non-governmental organisations.

The protest leaders awaiting the verdict are Anon Nampa, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul.

That the court has taken about a year to consider this case is a clear indication that it has also taken pains to secure evidence, in addition to that submitted by him, before delivering its judgment, said the former advisor to the ombudsman.

If the court rules against the anti-establishment leaders, he said that the ruling could be used as basis on which to proceed with lèse majesté charges against them and others who are openly advocating for the abolition of the monarchy.