A man from Thailand has been sentenced to two years in jail for selling calendars that included illustrations of rubber ducks dressed in royal regalia, BBC reported.
Narathorn Chotmankongsin, 26, has been convicted of offending the king of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, with prosecutors claiming that the calendars smeared the monarchy.
Thailand has been cracking down on free speech, with over 200 people prosecuted under the lèse-majestè law since 2020. The current version of the law, which dates to 1957, makes it illegal to publicly attack the monarchy and can result in decades of imprisonment. (RELATED: Woman Sentenced To 43 Years In Prison For Insulting Thailand’s Monarchy)
Chotmankongsin was arrested in Dec. 2020, after being caught selling the calendars on Facebook, according to BBC. The country’s pro-democracy movement uses rubber ducks as a symbol of the cause, the outlet reported.
Thai man jailed for insulting king over duck calendar https://t.co/NxN8k1vEHq
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 8, 2023
“This case sends a message to all Thais, and to the rest of the world, that Thailand is moving further away from – not closer to – becoming a rights-respecting democracy,” Elain Pearson, who heads HRW’s Asia division, said in a statement.
The Thai government still stands behind the lèse-majestè law, stating that it’s required to safeguard the monarchy, the continuation of which is regarded as crucial to Thailand’s national identity, according to BBC.