A Thai politician is facing charges for breaking the country’s harsh computer crimes law after he accused the ruling junta’s deputy leader of making sexist remarks about ousted former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, police said Thursday, according to Reuters. Watana Muangsook, a member of the Puea Thai Party that was ousted in a 2014 coup, criticized General Prawit Wongsuwan in a Facebook post for making "sexist comments" about Yingluck.
Prawit had reportedly said Monday that soldiers follow and take photos of Yingluck, "probably because she is pretty.” Watana called the remarks sexist and asked the military to stop following her. Watana was charged for defending Yingluck with his strongly worded statement on social media. Police investigator Col. Poomyos Lekkla said that Watana could ask for bail after being charged, according to Reuters.
Watana told reporters at the Bangkok South Criminal Court Wednesday that he would seek bail and fight the charges filed against him. "I have prepared 100,000 baht ($2,819)," he reportedly said.
Those who have criticized the junta have increasingly been hit with charges of computer crimes and sedition, according to several rights groups.
"We have warned many times," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said after reporters asked for comments over the charges filed against Watana, Reuters reported. "Don't say anything that causes divisions."
Junta spokesman Col. Winthai Suvaree reportedly said that Watana's charges were a "matter for police" but his Facebook post was damaging. "Watana committed a crime by publicizing misleading information," Suvaree reportedly said.