Monday, October 26, 2020

Thailand’s lese majeste regulation: A weapon to silence dissent?

Must Read

Ali Zafar to be the face of Namal Knowledge City

Singer Ali Zafar has been appointed as the ambassador of Pakistan’s ‘Namal Knowledge City’, announced the singer on Sunday....

WATCH: Pakistan Navy welcomes Turkish minister with Ottoman military music

Pakistan Navy welcomed Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar with the Ottoman military music during his visit to Pakistan Navy...

Mother and child models: ‘It’s our job to maintain them protected’

Units for brand new moms and ladies with severe psychological well being points are dealing with distinctive challenges....

Earlier this week, a whole bunch of Thai protesters shouted on the royal motorcade of King Maha Vajiralongkorn in a present of unprecedented open dissent in the direction of the monarchy as anti-government sentiment is on the rise throughout the nation.
The persevering with protests have prompted the federal government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to declare a state emergency on Thursday, and order the arrest of activists and their supporters.
For months, the demonstrators have been demanding the resignation of Prayuth, a former army common and coup chief, and reforms to the nation’s centuries-old monarchy, together with an modification, if not the abolition of the controversial lese majeste regulation.
So, what’s Thailand’s lese majeste regulation, and is it being utilized by the federal government to silence dissent?
Section 112
The Thai monarchy is protected by Section 112 of the nation’s Penal Code, which says whoever defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years.
The regulation in opposition to royal insults has been current in Thai prison codes for the reason that early 1900s when Thailand was often known as Siam. In June this 12 months, Prayuth abruptly introduced the regulation has been suspended upon the directions of the brand new king. But that has not stopped the protests, nor the arrests.
According to a Bangkok Post report, since Prayuth led a coup in 2014, greater than 90 folks have been prosecuted beneath the lese majeste regulation, and not less than 43 of them have been sentenced.
Constitutional monarchy
The king is described in Thailand’s structure as “enthroned in a position of revered worship”. Thai royalist traditionalists see the monarchy as a sacred establishment.
The monarchy has deep roots in Thailand, the place kings held absolute energy for a whole bunch of years earlier than a 1932 revolution.
Since then, Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy with the king as the top of state, though King Maha retains a strong and influential position.
The present king’s father, the highly-revered Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016, had additionally remarked in 2005 that the federal government ought to cease invoking the lese majeste regulation, saying it damages the monarchy as an establishment.
The monarchy has deep roots in Thailand, the place kings held absolute energy for a whole bunch of years earlier than a 1932 revolution [Jorge Silva/Reuters]On Tuesday, King Maha made a public look to mark the fourth demise anniversary of his father – the occasion that sparked the newest anti-government protests.
Prosecution beneath the regulation
There have been solely occasional prosecutions earlier than 2014, when Prayuth took energy in a coup, in accordance with the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group.
Many of these convicted on the time have been pardoned by the then-King Bhumibol.
But between the 2014 coup and early 2018, not less than 98 lese majeste costs have been filed, in accordance with a authorized database by Thai watchdog iLaw.
Human rights teams stated lots of these circumstances have been used to persecute opponents to the army authorities, an allegation the army authorities denied. Among prosecutions was one for defaming the late king’s pet canine.
A professional-democracy protester, proper, scuffles with a pro-monarchy one, centre, throughout an anti-government protest on the democracy monument in Bangkok on Wednesday [Rungroj Yongrit/EPA]In a high-profile lese majeste case in 2011, a 61-year-old Thai man, Ampon Tangnoppakul, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for allegedly sending 4 textual content messages deemed to have been offensive to the royal household.
The following 12 months, Ampon died of liver most cancers in jail, nonetheless claiming he was harmless of all costs.
Royal insult
The most up-to-date royal insult case was prosecuted in March 2018 in opposition to two males for attempting to burn footage of the king, in accordance with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.
A neighborhood courtroom dropped the royal insult cost however discovered each responsible of being a part of a prison organisation and arson.
According to the lese majeste regulation, anybody can file a criticism in opposition to others with out being the broken get together, a provision that critics say is being abused by royalists and the present authorities.  
Rights teams additionally stated opponents of the federal government have not too long ago been charged beneath different legal guidelines corresponding to these in opposition to sedition and pc crimes.
Last 12 months, three exiled Thai activists dealing with costs of insulting the monarchy disappeared in Vietnam after reportedly being arrested over there.
According to Human Rights Watch, the three have been reportedly turned over by Vietnam to Thai authorities. The Thai authorities has denied the report.
Also in January of 2019, the concrete-stuffed our bodies of two exiled critics of the army and the royal household have been found alongside the Mekong River border with Laos.
The authorities has stated it doesn’t goal opponents and that it’s the duty of the police to uphold the regulation.
But with protests rising even bigger, the federal government is scrambling to search out methods to comprise dissent, elevating fears of extra crackdowns.

Latest News

More Articles Like This