Junta asks Lao govt to deport lèse majesté suspects

The Thai government has asked Laotian authorities to deport Thais wanted for lèse majesté.

On 31 January 2017, Gen Thawip Netniyom, Secretary-General of the National Security Council, announced to media plans to travel to Laos to seek cooperation from the country’s government in monitoring the activities of certain Thai nationals.

A group of five to six Thais residing in Laos are producing radio programs deemed defamatory to the Thai Monarchy, said Thawip.

He added that the court has already issued arrest warrants for them. Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, a deputy junta head and Defence Minister, has specifically ordered him to follow this issue closely.

In a meeting on Thai-Laos border security on 26 January, the Defence Minister said, “[We] have consulted the Defence Ministry of Laos about the movement of certain Thai political groups in Laos who use radios to spread content affecting Thai national security.”

“The Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Thailand are willing to cooperate,” concluded Prawit.

After the 2014 coup d’état, many political dissidents wanted by the junta —most of whom are members of the anti-establishment red shirt movement — fled to neighboring Laos and Cambodia.

Although Thailand and Lao PDR has signed the extradition treaty, the treaty does not allow offenders to be sent home for political crimes or crimes that are not listed by the contracting parties.  Lèse majesté is not a crime in Lao PDR.

Thai-Laos meeting on border security on 26 January 2017 (file photo)