Submitted on Tue, 2017-12-12 18:20
The authorities have repeatedly denied access to a legal document which deals with the question of whether Princess Sirindhorn was an heir apparent to the throne of King Bhumibol, saying that the document could damage the monarchy if published.
On 12 December 2017, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that the Office of the Council of State (OCS) had denied their lawyer access to a document “Record of prosecutions of royal defamation under Article 112 and criminal defamation under Article 326 of the Penal Code.”
The lawyer wishes to use this document as evidence in a lèse majesté case, in which his client is accused of defaming Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, a younger sister of King Vajiralongkorn.
Sirindhorn’s official title in Thai before King Vajiralongkorn ascended to the throne included “Crown Princess.” This has led to a dispute as to whether she was considered an heir apparent of the Thai monarch.
Article 112, also known as the lèse majesté law, states "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir Apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years."
The lawyer first requested access to the document in June 2017 but the OCS declined the request citing the Rule on Maintenance of Official Secrets 2001 and Article 14 of the Public Information Act 1997. The OCS said the document is classified because information in the document could damage the monarchy if it is published.
According to TLHR, the document was accessible on the OCS website until at least June 2017.
In August 2017, the lawyer made a second attempt by asking the court to order to OCS to allow access to the document. The court rejected the request, stating that it can rule on the case regardless of the OCS document.
The lawyer appealed the court’s decision in September 2017. The court rejected the request, reasoning that the OCS does not have authority over the document.
The Office of Council of the State (Photo from GNews)