Ultra-royalist monk accused of lèse majesté

A Buddhist foundation has accused Buddha Isara, an ultra-royalist monk and a key leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), of royal defamation over a ritual to bless Buddha amulets.

On 10 April 2017, Wichai Prasertsutsiri, coordinator of the Centre for the Promotion of Buddhism Foundation, filed a complaint under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, against Buddha Isara at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok.

Wichai said that on 30 May 2009 the monk performed a ritual to bless Buddha amulets engraved with the monograph of the late King Bhumibol before selling them to his disciples.

During the ritual, the monk used his own blood to bless the amulets. Such action was defamatory to the Thai monarchy since the amulets were engraved with the royal monograph, said Wichai.

To back up his claim, Wichai said two websites published news about the ritual.

Buddha Isara in response posted on his Facebook page that the ritual was performed to honour the monarchy, adding that the plaintiff just wanted to find a way to attack him.

The police accepted the complaint and said they will investigate the matter.

Buddha Isara was one of the most popular faces of the PDRC, and in early 2014 led PDRC protesters to occupy the government complex on the outskirts of Bangkok.  He has been an ardent supporter of the use of the lèse majesté law.

In late 2015, he demanded that the police investigate Glyn T. Davies, the US Ambassador to Thailand, over his criticism of the lèse majesté law and led rallies in front of the US Embassy to call on the US to extradite lèse majesté suspects.

In February 2014, the monk stunned the public when he led a group of protesters to SC Park Hotel, owned by the Shinawatra family, and demanded that the management pay a “loss of time” fee to the tune of 120,000 baht after the hotel manager refused to let the group stay at the hotel.

In the same month, he led a group of protesters to Voice TV, perceived to be anti-establishment and pro-red shirt, largely because one of its major shareholders is Panthongtae Shinawatra, the son of Thaksin Shinawatra. Once there, they demanded “fair” reporting, citing the now defunct Blue Sky channel, which has close ties with the Democrat party and the PDRC as an example and asking the executive to apologize for distorting the news.

Buddha Issara,an ultra-royalist monk and a key leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)

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