A former student activist has been charged with lese majeste in Thailand for refusing to stand up when the royal anthem was played at a cinema, news reports said Wednesday. ( dpa )
Police on Tuesday charged Chotisak Onsoong, 27, with violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code for refusing to rise when the royal anthem was played at a movie theatre last year, reported the Bangkok Post.
Article 112 makes it a criminal offence to defame, insult or threaten the Thai king and members of the royal family, setting the punishment for lese majeste at three to 15 years imprisonment.
Nawamin Witthayakul, who was sitting two seats away from Chotisak when he refused to rise, filed the lese majeste charge against him.
Chotisak, a former deputy secretary-general of the Students Federation of Thailand, said he had done nothing wrong in refusing to rise for the royal anthem.
"To not rise is not an offense against anyone," said Chotisak, who noted that the Thai constitution guaranteed citizens the right to make a choice according to ones beliefs and faith.
It has been common practice since the 1970s for Thai cinemas to show footage of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, accompanied by the royal anthem, before screening movies. It has also been common practice, even among foreigners, to rise during the royal anthem.
King Bhumibol, 80, is the world's longest reigning monarch, and much revered among the vast majority of Thais.