Proposed amendments to lèse majesté law dismissed by Parliament

A bill proposed by academics and citizens to change Article 112 of the Criminal Code has been dismissed by the Speaker of Parliament.

The bill was submitted to Parliament, together with the signatures of 30,383 supporters, by Charnvit Kasetsiri, former Rector of Thammasat University, the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112 and hundreds of activists on 29 May.

According to Parliament’s website, the Speaker ordered the bill dismissed on 26 Sept, as he considered that it was not in accordance with the principles prescribed in Chapter 3 on the Rights and Liberties of Thai People and Chapter 5 on Directive Principles of Fundamental State Policies of the 2007 Constitution.

Based on the Nitirat group’s proposals, the bill proposed to: move Article 112 of the Criminal Code out of the chapter on national security; separate the protection of the King from that of the Queen, Heir Apparent and Regent; remove the minimum of 3 years’ imprisonment and set maximums of 3 years’ imprisonment for offences against the King and 2 years for offences against the others; prescribe exemptions from punishment in cases where comments are made in good faith, can be proven to be true and are beneficial to the public; and authorize only the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary to file complaints.

Puangthong Pawakapan, member of the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112, said that Parliament should have summoned representatives of her group or Nitirat to explain about the bill before making such a decision.

She felt sorry that Parliament had decided not to touch the law, and said that if Parliament was not too afraid and had a broader view of the issues of people’s rights and freedoms, it would see that the law had blatantly violated the people’s rights and freedoms.

Her group and Nitirat will issue statements on this issue, she said.

Source: http://www.prachatai.com/journal/2012/11/43435