Renowned royalist Sulak sued for lèse majesté for defaming ancient king

 
Two men have filed a lèse majesté complaint against Sulak Sivaraksa, a renowned royalist and lèse majesté critic, for a public speech about King Naresuan, who ruled the Ayutthaya Kingdom 400 years ago.
 
According to Chao Phraya News, Lt Gen Padung Niwatwan and Lt Gen Pittaya Vimalin filed the complaint at Chanasongkram Police Station on Thursday. They accused Sulak of defaming the former king during a public speech on “Thai History: the Construction and Deconstruction” on 5 October at Thammasat University, Bangkok. 
 
In the speech, Sulak said the legend of the elephant battle between Naresuan and a Burmese king was constructed. He also criticized the personality of the legendary Ayutthaya king for being cruel.  
 
The notorious lèse majesté law or Article 112 of the Criminal Code clearly states "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, Heir-apparent or Regent shall be punished (with) imprisonment of three to fifteen years." 
 
This is the second lèse majesté case related to a past monarch. In late 2013, the Supreme Court handed out a landmark verdict in a lèse majesté case in which the defendant was found guilty of defaming King Rama IV, who reigned between 1851 and 1868, surprising lawyers and academics who have always understood that the law does not cover former kings. 
 
According to Wikipedia, Naresuan, who ruled over the Ayutthaya Kingdom from 1590 to 1605, was one of Siam's most revered monarchs as he was known for his campaigns to free Siam from Burmese rule. During his reign numerous wars were fought against Burma. 
 
Several films and soap operas have been made about the monarch. The most recent are the Legend of King Naresuan, comprising five movies telling the story of the young Naresuan till his death. One movie in the series was dedicated to the elephant battle alone.
 
Read related news: 

Advertisements

Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: service@prachatai.com, please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”