Thai transgender student faces jail after accusation of insulting royal family

An outspoken Thai transgender woman who criticized her university’s mandatory uniform policy is likely to be jailed after she was accused of insulting the Thai royal family

Thai transgender student faces jail after accusation of insulting royal family
24 September 2013

A Thai student at the University of Thammasat is likely to be arrested and denied bail after she was accused of insulting the Thai royal family.

Saran Chuchai, 20, who also goes by the name Aum Neko, made headlines after she posed for a series of raunchy posters that were designed to attack her university’s policy of forcing students to wear uniforms.

However Phornthipa Supatnukul, host of the Thai TV show Best of Your Life later accused her of making comments that were critical of the Thai royal family during an interview with Thammasat University students and of also airing anti-royal sentiments on Facebook.

Criticizing the Thai royal family is considered an extremely serious offense in Thailand, and those accused are almost always denied bail and held in prison until they can be put on trial.

Supatnukul lodged a complaint with the Thai Police’s Crime Suppression Division which has referred the case to the Technology Crime Suppression Division for further investigation.

In a September 8 interview with Thai website Prachatai, Neko praised Pridi Banomyong, the founder of Thammasat University who lead the 24 June 1932 coup that ended the Thai royal family’s absolute rule.

‘Pridi [Banomyong] made enormous contributions,’ Neko told Prachatai.

‘Without him there would be no [end to absolute monarchy.] And who knows, those criticizing us today might still be serfs and slaves. You have the right to type on your Facebook today because we have a democracy that includes education after the revolution.’

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