Thai activist gets political refugee tag

Thai activist gets political refugee tag

Police charged Chanoknan Ruamsap in mid-January with lese majeste for clicking
Police charged Chanoknan Ruamsap in mid-January with lese majeste for clicking "share" on a BBC Thai profile of His Majesty the King. She had been arrested earlier for campaigning against the regime's constitution prior to the August, 2016, referendum. (FB/Moo.Cartoon)

Anti-junta activist Chanoknan Ruamsap, who fled the country earlier this year after being charged with lese majeste, has received political refugee status from the South Korean government.

Ms Chanoknan, a 25-year-old member of the New Democracy Movement, has become the first Thai to receive political refugee status from the South Korean government.

The immigration bureau of South Korea granted her request on Friday.

A smiling Ms Chanoknan posted a 40-minute Facebook Live video discussing the case after learning asylum had been granted.

"I think I won political refugee status because there were many people helping me along the way," the 25-year-old Ms Chanoknan said in a video posted on her Facebook page on Saturday.

"My case garnered attention in South Korea after local journalists interviewed me and published my story on the front page [of Hankyoreh21 magazine] in May. Other exiled political activists from around the world also wrote letters to the South Korean government. My plight has been widely reported and political activists in South Korea also pressured their government," she said.

The activist firebrand fled to South Korea in the middle of January after being charged with lese majeste for sharing a BBC Thai profile of His Majesty the King on her Facebook page. Ms Chanoknan -- nicknamed "Cartoon" did not just click share; she also wrote, "If you dare write. I dare share".

Of the 2,800 people who shared the article, only two were charged under Section 112.

The other, activist Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, aka "Pai Dao Din" is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence in Khon Kaen for the crime.

Ms Chanoknan applied for political refugee status in South Korea in March.

Her case was publicised by local media and activists in South Korea after an independent news magazine, Hankyoreh21, ran her story along with an interview on its front page in May.


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