Thai Police said nine people including two of Thailand’s leading scholars, Sulak Sivaraksa and Somsak Jeamteerasakul, are likely to face lèse majesté charges over a televised academic discussion on the lèse majesté law.
reported that Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, Deputy Police Chief, on Wednesday, 9 March 2016, said that nine people and two corporations involved in airing a talk show in 2013 called Tob Jod (The Answers) on Thai PBS, the only public TV channel in Thailand, are accused of offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
The deputy police chief announced after a police committee meeting tasked with investigating lèse majesté cases that the committee has concluded that, within the scope of Article 112, the accused nine have allegedly committed a crime. The officer, however, refrained from mentioning in detail as to when the case file will be sent to the prosecutor's office.
The Tob Jod televised programmes on 11-14 March and 18 March 2013 aired a debate on the lèse majesté law featuring Somsak Jeamteerasakul, an academic now in self-imposed exile in Europe, Sulak Sivaraksa, an anti-lèse majesté law royalist, Surakiart Sathirathai, former Deputy Prime Minister, and Pol Gen Vasit Dejkunchorn. The show was hosted by Pinyo Trisuriyathamma.
The five persons mentioned are among the nine accused.
Pol Gen Srivara said that the police committee concluded that the nine are accused of crimes under one count, which breaches many laws.
He said that the committee has sent a case file to Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, Chief of the Royal Thai Police, for consideration.
After being considered by the police chief, the case file will be sent to the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for consideration whether any of the accused have allegedly committed a crime under Article 11 of the Penal Code for abstaining from duties as officers of state agencies or not.
In August 2015, a Thai military officer filed a lèse majesté complaint against Sulak for allegedly criticising Thai monarchs of the early 20th century, King Rama V and Rama VII.
Earlier in 2011, the Royal Thai Army filed a complaint under Article 112 against Somsak for his open letter to Princess Chulabhorn Walailak, who is not protected under the law. The letter was a response to the Princess' interview in a popular talk show programme which touched on Thai political conflicts.