A rock singer’s charity campaign has sparked debate over the ethics of donations, while a senior academic is facing a lèse majesté lawsuit for criticising King Naresuan, who ruled the kingdom of Ayutthaya 400 years ago. Thailand’s lèse majesté law is notorious for its excessive punishments and broad interpretations.
"During the past three years, my despair about my country has never reached the depth it did when I learned of the judgment in the case of Pai Dao Din," said Nidhi Eoseewong. Nidhi Eoseewong (file photo)
An online campaign has been started to call on the Thai authorities to drop a royal defamation charge against a well-known intellectual accused of defaming an ancient Siamese King.
The Thai government should end all lèse-majesté prosecutions and amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lèse-majesté) to bring it in line with international law, a United Nations (UN) expert said on 6 October 2017.
The former fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has threatened to take legal actions against those accusing him of royal defamation. The former PM wrote on his twitter account on 9 October 2017 that he felt ‘extremely uncomfortable’ about the recent statement of Khemchai Chutiwongse, the Attorney General, that he will be indicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
The police have decided to press royal defamation charges against Sulak Sivaraksa, a renowned royalist and lèse majesté critic, over a public speech about King Naresuan, who ruled the Ayutthaya Kingdom 400 years ago. On 9 October 2017, Puangthip Boonsanong, a lawyer representing Sulak, said the police took Sulak, 84, to the Military Court of Bangkok and submitted to the military prosecutor the case file in which he is accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law. The military prosecutor will decide on 7 December 2017 whether to indict.
A deputy junta head alleged that there are people who planed to create chaos around the upcoming Royal Funeral. On 2 October 2017, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, a deputy junta head and Defence Minister, said at the meeting about security issues during the upcoming Royal Funeral for the late King Bhumibol on 26 October.
A court has renewed the detention of a suspect accused of royal defamation although there is no apparent evidence linking him to a group of people accused of defaming Princess Sirindhorn. On 18 September 2017, the Provincial Court of Kamphaeng Phet began the trial in a case which four people have been indicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
The father of ‘Pai Dao Din’ has given up hope in the Thai justice system, saying there is no point in trying to appeal the court’s verdict. On 18 September 2017, the Isaan Record reported that Viboom Boonpattararaksa, the father of Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa, a law student and key democracy activist imprisoned for royal defamation, said he will not submit an appeal request for his son.
An embattled human rights lawyer accused of royal defamation has challenged the impartiality of the court in his case, as it is related to the monarchy. On 18 September 2017, the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road, Bangkok, held a deposition hearing for Prawais Prapanugool, a human rights lawyer accused of violating Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law and the sedition law.