Royal kin call for lese majeste law overhaul-Bangkok Post
February 18, 2012
[FACT comments: Shall we break out the velvet bags and the elephants? Mom Narisa, publisher at River Books, was one of FACT’s earliest petition signers. We are so proud to know you!]
Govt urged to heed HM the King’s concerns
Bangkok Post: January 12, 2012
A group of prominent figures with royal lineage have appealed to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to amend the lese majeste law.
Eight people with royal lineage signed a letter which they sent to the PM on Saturday asking the government to change the law.
They are MR Sai Svasti Svastivat (elder sister of MR Saisingh), MR Khunying Saisingh Siributr, MR Narisa Chakrabongse (Daughter of Prince Chulachakkrabongse), Vara-Poj Snidvongs na Ayudhya, Gen MR Krit Kritakara, MR Powari Suchiva (nee Rajani, daughter of MR Pheeradej Rajani in charge of Royal projects), MR Opas Kanchawichai and Sumet Jumsai na Ayudhya.
MR Narisa Chakrabongse MR Khunying Saising Siributr
MR Powari Suchiva Sumet Jumsai na Ayudhya
The letter said the number of lese majeste cases had increased substantially in the span of seven years, from zero in 2002 to 165 in 2009.
News about these cases has been reported around the world and resulted in increasingly intense attacks on the institution of the monarchy, it said.
UN official chimes in: Thais need freedom of expression
The group cited in support of its move His Majesty King Bhumibol’s address on Dec 4, 2005 in which he said putting people who criticised the monarchy in jail only caused trouble to him.
“There have been many governments since the King made his remark, but none has embarked on improving the lese majeste law, including this government,” the letter said.
“Since this government organised activities to celebrate His Majesty’s seventh cycle birthday in 2011, it should take the opportunity to realise His Majesty’s wish on this issue as well.” Mr Sumet, one of the letter’s signatories, said the group met towards the end of 2011 to mull over the issue “in view of ongoing abuse of the lese majeste law and the effect it has on the country at home and abroad”.
“Most important of all, our group wants to draw attention to the fact that His Majesty himself has criticised the law,” he said.
While the group urged the government to “improve” the law, it did not specify which specific areas should be changed, or how.
“Members of our group are not legal experts and we think that it is the government’s job to find a solution,” Mr Sumet said.
It was the government’s duty to protect the institution and, in this instance, heed the King’s concerns.
Society is divided, with people taking extreme positions. The government should heed His Majesty’s advice before taking further action, Mr Sumet said.
The Criminal Code’s Article 112, better known as the lese majeste law, stipulates that those who defame, insult or threaten Their Majesties, the heir-apparent or the regent shall be subject to between three and 15 years in jail.