Thai prosecutors request New Zealand to extradite lèse majesté suspect

The Thai prosecutor’s office has indicted and proceeded with the extradition of a lèse majesté suspect in exile.

The Office of the Attorney General of Thailand on Tuesday indicted Ekapop L. (aka Tang Achiwa), an anti-establishment red shirt currently in self-imposed exile, under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.

The prosecutor’s office also announced that the office has requested New Zealand, the country where Ekapop currently resides, to extradite the lèse majesté suspect back to Thailand.

Ekapop was accused of defaming the monarchy when he spoke at a red-shirt protest at Rajamangala Stadium in Eastern Bangkok in late 2013. The police issued an arrest warrant against him in early 2014.

After the arrest warrant was issued, the suspect fled to Cambodia and later received refugee status from the UNHCR before relocating to New Zealand.

Last year, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, told the media that the Thai authorities are trying to cooperate with other countries to hunt down lèse majesté suspects in exile, one of whom is Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a Thammasat University political historian, who went into self-imposed exile shortly after the coup d’état in May.

“We must express to other countries how these people [lèse majesté suspects] have committed crimes according to Thai law,” Bangkokbiznews quoted Prawit as saying.