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22 Sep 2021

Fortify Rights

Supreme Court upholds lower court dismissal of criminal defamation complaint against university lecturer Ngamsuk Ruttanasatain

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22 September 2021

Thai authorities should drop all remaining cases brought by Thai chicken company Thammakaset Company Limited against human rights defenders and protect the right to freedom of expression, said Fortify Rights today. [...] the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling to dismiss a criminal defamation complaint brought by Thammakaset against Ngamsuk Ruttanasatain, a lecturer at Mahidol University’s Institute for Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP).

[...] ruling comes more than two years after Thammakaset lodged a complaint on May 1, 2019 against Ngamsuk Ruttanasatain for allegedly sharing a Fortify Rights news release on the IHRP’s Facebook page on March 12, 2019. The news release related to another criminal defamation lawsuit filed by Thammakaset against human rights defenders Nan Win and Sutharee Wannasiri. On June 8, 2021, the Bangkok Criminal Court acquitted Nan Win and Sutharee Wannasiri of the charges brought by Thammakaset.

[...] On July 16, 2020, the Court of Appeal upheld the criminal court’s decision, and the Supreme Court today confirmed the decision of both lower courts. The Supreme Court’s judgment is final.

“SLAPP [Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation] needs to end in Thailand. It doesn’t only arbitrarily limit freedom of expression but also takes a massive financial, time, and mental health toll on its victims,” said Ngamsuk Ruttanasatain. “Thai authorities should uphold human rights by decriminalizing offenses related to freedom of expression and preventing SLAPP cases from proceeding.”