Thailand may attempt to extradite UK citizen for insulting monarchy
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Thailand may attempt to extradite UK citizen for insulting monarchy

Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has moved to bring a Thai woman back from England on lese majeste charges. According to MCOT, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reached out to other agencies, including the Royal Thai Police, to bring Chatwadee “Rose” Amornpat to trial under the country’s lese majeste law.

Rose was born in Thailand but moved to England, where she started a family. She took to social media to post messages critical of Thailand’s monarchy. Rose often posts videos to Facebook and those who support her have called her an “angel of democracy.” However, earlier this spring, her parents reported her to authorities, submitting several of her videos as proof of her critical attitude. Prachatai reports that her parents were “heavily bullied” before they reported their daughter, and that Rose herself is “subjected to hatred and bullying online and offline.” Violating the lese majeste law is a serious offense in the country, and can mean three to 15 years in prison. According to the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), six people are currently imprisoned in Thailand for violating the lese majeste law.

MCOT reported that Sek Wannamethee, Director-General of the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told journalists this week “that the foreign ministry, the Royal Thai Police and the Office of the Attorney General are currently working on legal provisions” to bring Rose back from London to face lese majeste charges. Thailand does have an extradition treaty with the United Kingdom, but because Rose has British citizenship, it is unclear if that will complicate the process. MCOT also noted that while the extradition process is looked into, the Royal Thai Embassy in London will begin verifying Rose’s address, and the addresses of other reported lese majeste offenders currently living in the UK.

According to the UK government website, extradition requests must pass a dual criminality test, which “means that for someone to be extradited, their alleged conduct has to be a criminal offence in both the surrendering and the requesting state.” The site also states that there are 32 categories of offenses for which the dual criminality test does not apply, but anything outside those 32 must be considered a criminal offense in the state requesting extradition and in the UK in order to qualify.

Thai PBS reported that Pol Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang, the deputy police chief, told reporters that police were being instructed to follow up on all lese majeste cases that “are still pending with the police or which are yet to be lodged with the police.”

Rose was in the news earlier this week after a Thai man posted a video of himself going to her former home and painting the Thai flag on her door and flashing a gun (now believed to have been an air gun). Prior to that, a woman posted a video, also of her visit to Rose’s home, saying she planned to slap Rose and throw eggs at her, according to Prachatai. However, the news site reported Rose had said she moved out of that home after separating from her husband so the visits were to no avail.

In other lese majeste news, a lecturer known to be critical of the law and the coup was released on Thursday after one night in detention, according to the Phuket Gazette. Worachet Pakeerut, a legal expert and lecturer, was questioned about his political stances and released on 20,000 baht bail, on the condition that he would not join any political movements or leave the country.