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Harsh enforcement of the lese majeste laws called for and the man who fell foul of the law

A royal bloodline representative has called for more harsh enforcement of the lese majeste laws that criminalize any criticism of the Thai monarchy.

M.L Suttichan Worawuth, who represents the Rajanikul, a term used for those related to His Majesty the King by blood, this morning submitted a letter to the secretary general to the Prime Minister Mr. Suranand Vejjajiva demanding a serious effort to protect the monarchy.

M.L Suttichan Worawuth said there have been many insults of the institution of the monarchy by many means, but the Government has come up with no measures to protect the monarchy.

harry 2Any perceived insults or defamation of His Majesty the King, her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Heir are criminalized under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code, which can punish offenders with a maximum off fifteen years in prison per offence. However the law has been criticized by many civil rights activists as a politicized tool to stiffen any discussion concerning the Thai monarchy.

But M.L. Suttichan believes the application of the law has been too relaxed. In the letter submitted to PM Yingluck, he also urged the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to shut down any website that contains messages deemed offensive to the monarchy, and prosecute those responsible for the contents.

“The Prime Minister herself has given an oath to protect the monarchy when she took up the position,” M.L. Suttichan said, “What we Royal Blood want to see is a clear dedication in dealing with those who insult the monarchy”.

He added that the Rajanikul will come up with “further response” if the government does not comply with their suggestion within 3 days.

In August 2008, Harry Nicolaides, a self-published author and university lecturer, was arrested at the airport in Bangkok for allegedly committing lese-majeste. According to the police, a paragraph in his little read book published a few years earlier was slanderous towards the Crown Prince. Harry was denied bail and sat in a crowded cell for five months awaiting trial. He initially pleaded not-guilty saying that he was unaware of the strict lese-majeste law.

harryAs a teacher and a writer it is hard to imagine that he knew so little of the Thai culture and the law that is on the do’s and don’ts of every guide to Thailand.

Later Harry changed his plea to guilty and the judge decided to half his sentence, however he still faced six years in jail. On the day of the trial Nicolaides told reporters he would like to apologise and that he had unqualified respect for the King of Thailand and had not intended to insult him. He added “I was aware of the law, but I did not think that it would apply to me.

Nicolaides received a royal pardon and returned to Melbourne on 21st February 2009 where he is said to be writing a book about his ordeal.

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