Saudi Arabian lèse majesté convict Ibrahim A. was released from jail last week after receiving a royal pardon. He was sentenced to two years in jail for posting rumours about the king’s health on an investors’ webboard in August 2010. He is about to be apart from his Thai wife and young son because of deportation.
After his release, he was detained at the Immigration Police. He will be deported to Saudi Arabia and will be blacklisted from entering Thailand.
Waiting to be deported within a month, Ibrahim, 42, his Thai wife and 6-year-old son are now figuring out how to live together from now on. Given the fragile ties between Thailand and Saudi Arabia, it will be nearly impossible for his wife to register their marriage certificate and stay with him in the Middle Eastern country, his wife said. Living in a third country seems to be the only option.
“It seems unfair. We have to separate even though the crime he committed didn’t kill anybody. He didn’t mean it. The King has given him a royal pardon already, but still the Immigration law [demands that he leave.] We now have only one month left. We’ve tried to consult various organizations for help, including the National Human Rights Commission,” said his wife.
Ibrahim was the breadwinner of the family.
In August 2010, Ibrahim, a full-time investor, posted on the investors’ web forum of a securities company a message -- a rumour -- about the condition of the king’s health which he had read on the Internet. The company later filed a police complaint against him.
In court, Ibrahim admitted that he himself posted the message, but said he did not intend to insult or defame the king. He also insisted that he has respected and revered the king and the royal family.
There was only a slight fall on the SET on October 20, 2010.
The Court of First Instance in March 2012 found Ibrahim guilty under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, or lèse majesté law, and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act, and sentenced him to two years in prison. The Appeal Court in August 2013 affirmed the decision and did not grant him bail. He and his family then decided to request a royal pardon. He was granted the pardon on January 22, 2014. He was released, but later detained in the care of the Immigration Police. He is now released on bail.
Ibrahim, his wife and son when they paid respect to the King at Siriraj Hospital several years ago.
Ibrahim said he is very grateful for the royal grace that set him free and allowed him to live with his family again. He has respected the King like the Thai people, he said, adding that he thinks Article 112 is very severe and it was very difficult fighting this kind of case.
Ibrahim finished a masters degree in Islamic History in Saudi Arabia. Eight years ago, he married a Thai woman from the northern province of Phayao and settled down there.
There are at least two other lèse majesté cases involving rumours about the king’s health. These cases, however, involved a sharp fall on the SET in mid 2009.