A Thai activist is facing one year behind bars for writing about his sexual experiences in prison on his Facebook account. Ekachai Hongkangwan was sentenced to one year in prison without parole yesterday. The activist’s relatives have applied to get him out on bail and are awaiting the Supreme Court’s final decision, which is expected to take two to three days. Ekachai is currently awaiting the verdict inside Bangkok Remand Prison, where he previously spent two years and eight months of his life.
Ekachai was charged with violating the Computer Crime Act by “disseminating obscene material online.” But it wasn’t explicit photos or videos which got him in trouble with the law, it was words.
The court’s decision yesterday relates to comments Ekachai made on Facebook back in 2017. In a series of posts called “My First Prison Life”, Ekachai went into explicit details about his sexual experiences during the two years and eight months he spent in the all-male Bangkok Remand Prison.
Ekachai said the reason he wrote the posts on Facebook was to expose the conditions inside Bangkok’s prisons. He wanted the posts to create the opportunity for prison conditions to improve. He said the prison society is closed off and most people don’t know what it’s really like there, for example people don’t know what people’s sex lives are like behind bars.
He said his intention was not to spread any kind of pornography online, which is against the law, but just to share his experience. He said the posts got a lot of attention, but there was not one comment suggesting the posts were a type of pornography.
The court said that Ekachai could have written about problems in the prison system without the use of obscene language. The defendant’s actions were considered an offense by the court, who sentenced him to one year in prison without parole.
The 47 year old pro-democracy activist was previously imprisoned on lèse-majesté charges. Ekachai is famous for his one-man protest regarding Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan’s controversial luxury watch collection valued at 22 million baht.