The military prosecutor on Thursday indicted a 74-year-old man for lèse majesté, saying he insulted the King by merely asking questions about the constitutional monarchy.
The Judge Advocate General’s Office on Thursday filed a case against a 73-year-old writer and translator, known by his pen name Bundit Aneeya, who was arrested in November 2014 for making a comment that allegedly defamed the King during a seminar.
The seminar, organized by Waranchai Chokchana, was held on 26 November 2014, in Bangkok and was attended by about 15 people. Bundit was arrested at the seminar while he was not even finish his speech.
According to the case filed by the prosecutor, the alleged lèse majesté comment was made after the panel ended.
“My point is now Thai people are separated into two sides: The one which is in favour of a monarchy which does not abide by the law, as the head of the state,” said Bundit. Then Bundit asked about two choices concerning the monarchy. "which one...” Bundit was arrested by police before he could finish his sentence. (The phrase in italics is a paraphrase and the black highlight covers words that are censored in order to avoid repeating the alleged lèse majesté content.)
According to the military prosecutor, saying that the Thai monarchy does not abide by the law and to ask about the two choices constitute contempt of the King.
All Thai constitutions enshrine the King in a position that shall not be violated.
For example, the Article 8 of 2007 Constitution states that “The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.”
Bundit has been released on 400,000 baht bail due to his age and poor health. He is one of the few lèse majesté suspects granted bail by the military court.
The writer, who has been diagnosed with psychosis, has only one kidney and has to carry a urine drainage bag with him all the time.
The old man had earlier been convicted of lèse majesté with the jail term suspended due to his mental illness. If convicted again, his jail terms will accumulate.
The allegedly lèse majesté comment that he made pointed out the general opinion of Thais toward the monarchy.
In February 2014, the self-taught writer and translator, who has written and translated over 30 books, was found guilty by the Supreme Court under Article 112, the lèse majesté law, for his comments at a seminar and sentenced to four years in jail, but the jail term was suspended for three years.
Bundit Aneeya at Suthisan Police Station, Bangkok, on 27 November 2014