Democracy Network campaign for 10,000 signatures to repeal lèse majesté law

On 25 April, the Democracy Network made a public call for the abolition of Article 112 of the Criminal Code and an end to restricting the people’s freedom of expression.  The call was made at the office of Red Power magazine at the red-shirt headquarters, Imperial Lad Phrao, in Bangkok.

According to Red Power editor Somyos Phrueksakasemsuk, the Democracy Network, made up of groups and individuals supporting the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship, are campaigning to abolish the lèse majesté law, or Article 112 of the Criminal Code, as it has been politically abused.

Somyos said that the military’s actions, including the army chief’s comments, lèse majesté complaints made against leaders of the UDD and recent shows of force, were serious and inappropriate, damaging the atmosphere towards reconciliation and the next general elections.

He expected that political conflicts would grow ever more intense, and said that the attempts to intimidate academics such as Somsak Jeamteerasakul for criticizing the monarchy, and to revoke the bail of red-shirt leaders were meant to prevent red-shirt gatherings to mark the first anniversary of the massacre.

The Network will hold activities to condemn those who were behind the killings starting from 7 May at Wong Wian Yai, then in several provinces, and at the statue of King Rama VI at Lumphini Park on 19 May.

It is gathering 10,000 signatures to revoke Article 112 through Parliament as allowed by the constitution.

Prawase Praphanukul, lawyer for lèse majesté convict Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, said that the call for the repeal of Article 112 was lawful and constitutional.

He said that the article was a cause for endless allegations.  He had listened to Jatuporn Phromphan’s speech on 10 April.  The speech condemned the military, but was alleged to be a lèse majesté offence only because it mentioned the Royal Guard.