(THAILAND, September 22, 2021)—On September 22, the Thai Supreme Court issued a decision to uphold lower court rulings to dismiss a complaint filed by Thai chicken company Thammakaset Company Limited against Mahidol University lecturer Ngamsuk Ruttanasatain. The Supreme Court ruling came more than two years after Thammakaset lodged a complaint against Ngamsuk Ruttanasatain for allegedly sharing a Fortify Rights news release on Mahidol University’s Institute for Human Rights Program Facebook page on March 12, 2019. The complaint against Ngamsuk Ruttanasatain alleged violations of criminal defamation under articles 326 and 328 of the Thailand Criminal Code, which carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of 200,000 Thai Baht (US$6,000).
The Bangkok Criminal Court dismissed the complaint against Ngamsuk Ruttanasatain on September 18, 2019 after two days of preliminary hearings. On July 16, 2020, the Court of Appeal upheld the criminal court’s decision. The Supreme Court’s judgment is final.
Fortify Rights brought attention to Ngamsuk’s case since its start, including through news releases published in June 2019, August 2019, and June 3 2020 as well as through a social media profile of her work as a human rights defender published in September 2019 and social media cards published in 2020, as well as ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling and following the decision in September 2021. In August 2019, Fortify Rights arranged for representatives from approximately 25 embassies, U.N. agencies, and human rights organizations to observe the initial hearing in her case and secured more than US$5,500 in emergency relief to cover Ngamsuk’s legal fees and court costs. We also observed and supported her to attend the various court hearings, including the most recent verdict reading by the Supreme Court on September 22, 2021.