Thai royals protected by police state laws

This video is about David Streckfuss, on Lese Majeste and Monarchies.

By John Roberts:

Prosecutions continue under Thailand’s anti-democratic lese majeste laws

5 May 2012

A trial is currently underway in the Bangkok Criminal Court of Somyot Pruksakasemsuk under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code, the section that deals with lese majeste or offences against the Thai King and royal family. The case is one of hundreds that were brought by the previous military-backed government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as a means of intimidating its opponents.

The fact that the anti-democratic laws remain in force and that the trials continue highlights the political accommodation reached by the current government of Yingluck Shinawatra with the country’s traditional elites—the military, state bureaucracy and the monarchy. In a deal struck prior to national elections last July, Yingluck agreed to stay out of military affairs and leave the lese majeste laws untouched if she came to power.

The uneasy truce ended five years of bitter political infighting within the country’s ruling elites after the military ousted Yingluck’s brother—Thaksin Shinawatra—in 2006. The result, however, is that critics of the Abhisit government and its backers in the military and monarchy now face lengthy jail terms on a range of charges, including lese majeste, that is, denigrating the monarchy.

The lese majeste laws are such a politically sensitive issue because the monarchy has played such a pivotal role in protecting the Thai state apparatus. In times of crisis, the Thai king has been able to posture as a neutral arbiter and intervene to defuse developing opposition, to the military in particular. Over the past six years, however, the monarchy has increasingly been seen as acting in a partisan fashion against the Thaksin faction of the ruling elite. This is why there is a greater use of lese majeste laws to block critics.

The 50-year-old Somyot has a long history as an activist in student and trade union organisations and as a publicist. He is charged over two articles that appeared in the Voice of Taksin magazine in 2010, when he was the editor. Somyot was arrested on April 30, 2011 and has been held in custody ever since. Eight applications for bail were rejected. If convicted he faces up to 15 years imprisonment.

Efforts by the Thai government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to replace the country’s military-imposed constitution have reignited bitter internecine fighting within the country’s ruling elite: here.

From Gulf News, a slavish mouthpiece for the dictatorial monarchical regime in Bahrain:

Thailand prime minister to visit Bahrain

Boosting cooperation in trade and medical services will top the agenda of her talks in the two Gulf countries

Medical services in Bahrain indeed need improvement. As Bahraini doctors are tortured for treating patients.

Bahrain’s police officers regularly abuse minor detainees before transporting them to police stations, Human Rights Watch says: here.

18 thoughts on “Thai royals protected by police state laws

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  6. Top cops jailed for corruption

    Thailand: A court sentenced two top police officers embroiled in a corruption scandal to six years in prison yesterday on charges of insulting the monarchy and running a gambling den.

    The court found Central Investigation Bureau former chief Pongpat Chayapan and his deputy guilty of claiming royal backing for a Bangkok gambling den.

    Mr Chayapan is distantly related to the royal family through the crown prince’s ex-wife.


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  8. 8/12/2011 @ 18:39:17

    US man jailed for defaming royals

    Thailand: A Bangkok court sentenced US citizen Joe Gordon (above) to two-and-a-half years in prison today for defaming the country’s royal family by translating excerpts of a locally banned biography of the king and posting them online.

    Judge Tawan Rodcharoen said the punishment, initially set at five years, was reduced because Mr Gordon pleaded guilty in October. Defence lawyer Arnon Nampa said he would not appeal but would apply for a royal pardon.


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