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Thai protest leaders go on trial for sedition and insulting the king




The 22 protesters deny charges of sedition and a litany of other crimes, which includes leses majesty, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison for each charge.

“They can lock me up, but they can’t close the truth,” Chiwarak, protest leader Parit “Penguin,” shouted as he reached a prison truck, tossing defiantly three-fingered “Hunger Games” synonymous with the youth movement.

“The truth is always the truth, whether in prison, under torture or awaiting execution, the truth is the truth,” said 22-year-old Parit, who is among the seven defendants detained in pretrial detention and accused of having insulted King Maha Vajiralongkorn, too. as sedition.

A leader of Thai pro-democracy activists Parit & # 39;  Penguin & # 39;  Chiwarak throws the three-fingered salute when he comes to face charges in the Bangkok, Thailand criminal court on March 15.

Thailand’s youth movement has posed the biggest challenge to date to Prime Minister and former coup leader Prayut Chan-o-cha, who they say designed a process that would preserve the political status quo and keep him in power after the election. of 2019. Prayut has rejected it.

Protesters also broke a traditional taboo demanding the reform of the powerful monarchy, saying the constitution drafted by the military after the 2014 coup gives too much power to the king.

The length of the trial will be determined later Monday after the defense and prosecutors discuss how many witnesses the two parties will ask for the case, which stems from a September rally.