TV host Jonh Winyu charged with defaming PM Prayut on Twitter

TV host Jonh Winyu charged with defaming PM Prayut on Twitter

TV host Winyu Wongsurawat, aka Jonh Winyu, is accompanied by human rights lawyer  Krissadang Nutcharas (right) as he arrives to Nang Loeng police station to hear a  charge of defaming the prime minister, on Friday. (Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham)
TV host Winyu Wongsurawat, aka Jonh Winyu, is accompanied by human rights lawyer Krissadang Nutcharas (right) as he arrives to Nang Loeng police station to hear a charge of defaming the prime minister, on Friday. (Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham)

TV show host Winyu Wongsurawat, or "Jonh Winyu", has reported to Bangkok police to acknowledge a charge of defaming Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in two Twitter posts.

Mr Winyu, 35, accompanied by human rights lawyer Krissadang Nutcharas, arrived at the Nang Loeng police station on Friday morning to hear the charge.

The charge was filed by Apiwat Khanthong, executive assistant to the Prime Minister’s Office, who accused Mr Winyu of defaming the prime minister in two Twitter posts late last year, Mr Krissadang said.

Mr Winyu is charged with wrongfully accusing Gen Prayut of lacking transparency in office since seizing power from the previous government, he said.

Mr Krissadang said he had seen the comments made by Mr Winyu on Twitter. His client had expressed his views as a prominent media figure. He had not seen any messages that were defamatory.

Mr Winyu arrived at the police station in response to a summons. Police could seek court approval to detain him in custody, but the court would have to hear good reason, he said.

Mr Winyu was a media personality and posed no flight risk in this case, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison. Given the current outbreak of Covid-19, the lawyer said he did not expect police would detain his client in custody. 

Mr Winyu said he had commented on and criticised the administration of the prime minister honestly over the past seven years and he was not worried about legal action.

He found it unusual that the prime minister had asked his staff to file similar complaints against several people. 


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