Bring Harry Home!-New Mandala

February 4, 2009

Bring Harry home!
Andrew Walker
New Mandala: February 4, 2009

http://rspas.anu.edu.au/rmap/newmandala/2009/02/04/bring-harry-home/

Here is a statement from Forde Nicolaides, brother of Harry. He announces the establishment of a website called Bring Harry Home. Please visit the site to sign the petition and offer your support in other ways. 

The pardon application made by Harry is currently being considered by Thai authorities including the Royal Palace. There is no timeframe that has been provided as to when the application will be dealt with or finalised.

Attached is a link to a website developed by a group of Harry’s friends – www.bringharryhome.com.

We have been overwhelmed by emails and phone calls by hundreds of people in the last few weeks wanting to do something to help in the support of Harry’s case with one objective – to bring Harry home.

This webpage was developed for that reason – to give anyone that is interested in Harry’s fate an opportunity to make a difference. A facebook site has also been developed with the same name: Bring Harry Home.

The Australian government, despite sending a letter of support to Thai authorities following Harry’s conviction 2 weeks ago, does not appear to have actively pursued the case since that time. As they demonstrated in the period before Harry’s trial, the government again seem to be waiting to see how things unfold rather than take proactive interest now to confirm that all necessary steps have been taken to allow the application to proceed and be dealt with by the King.

I encourage you all to visit the website from time to time as it will contain updates to the case including an online petition where Harry’s friends hope to raise over 100,000 signatures.

I have had a lot of people ask recently about how the King of Thailand brought the charge against Harry. To clarify, it was not the King of Thailand or any member of the Royal family that brought the charge against Harry.

As is usual practice in Thailand, the charge of Lese majeste is brought by a Thai government official or the Thai Police who in their own assessment considered that Harry’s actions defamed or insulted His Majesty the King and the Crown Prince.

Throughout a legal case of Lese majeste, the King or his Institution is never involved in the process, for example, to give evidence or to confirm that he has been insulted or defamed.

To the best of my knowledge, the King has never told anyone to prosecute a person for Lese majeste.

One Response to “Bring Harry Home!-New Mandala”

  1. Brian Knight Says:

    Obviously the priority is to get Harry back home, and let’s work together to try to get that done.
    I wanted to interject a brief note regarding diplomatic representation on the behalf of an Embassy or consulate host country nationals in foreign lands.
    The representation will be humane and as expedient as possible, but must be relegated, as always, to the more expedient and meaningful – to mutual diplomatic parties – commercial, military, cultural and other ties that bind the two parties. In a sense, these nuisance events, where a host country national “gets into trouble with the local authorities” is dreaded because it poses a potential problem for overall relations at worst, and at the very least, will leave the poor host country national in dire straits – that is, if he or she is being prosecuted unjustly. Obviously we are ignoring drug dealers and other criminals.
    That Thailand has elevated perceived slights against immediate members of the Thai royal family as threats to national security, and this is now official policy, is a step in a draconian direction at best. While it has had and will have some backlash implications, to diplomats the world over such cases happen and generally it’s best to stay out of the way.
    However, in not just Harry’s case but in many Thai cases the slights never occurred but are merely deemed to have happened, and the process is pushed along by those with small minds, mean hearts and spirited xenophobic mindsets. None would ever achieve anything in an intellectual/academic approach to the issue, and all the fundamentalists can fall back on is the ancient ways of “We are right and they are wrong.”
    Harry’s case has produced much shock and anger, frustration and loss of sleep for those who mean well. For those who are vindictive, it has merely illustrated that once again, Thailand is able to protect itself.
    The essences of Thai culture and basics of Buddhist religion – not necessarily as thought here in Thailand – call for Harry to be released. Shame calls for an apology for what was done to him as well, but that will never happen.
    As to those who really want to help Harry and anyone else who is either already in an interrogation room or will one day be charged with lese majeste in Thailand, I suggest that we begin to build a wall of defenses, counter-arguments and other background that can be used in defense at all stages for defendants, right from the beginning stages of being first alleged to have insulted the Thai monarchy through to the investigation process, submittal of case to the prosecutor, trial and sentencing. An international tribunal would be one suggestion. At the moment AI has let everyone down, but on the other hand, what can it really do?


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