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Thai politics Thailand

Thailand’s Somyot Sentenced to 10 Years for Royal Defamation

The AP reports:

A prominent Thai activist and magazine editor was sentenced to a decade in prison Wednesday for defaming Thailand’s monarchy, a verdict rights groups condemned as the latest affront to freedom of expression in the Southeast Asian country.

Somyot Pruksakasemsuk was convicted of publishing two articles in an anti-establishment magazine that made negative references to the crown.

The New York Times says:

A Thai court on Wednesday sentenced a labor activist and former magazine editor to 10 years in prison for insulting Thailand’s king, the latest in a string of convictions under the country’s strict lese majeste law.

The case of Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, 51, was different from previous lese majeste cases because Mr. Somyot directly challenged the law itself, saying it violated the right to free expression.

The Wall Street Journal says:

A court in Thailand sentenced a magazine editor to 10 years in prison Wednesday for publishing two articles that prosecutors said defamed the country’s revered monarchy, focusing fresh international attention on both the way Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws are applied and the extent of the country’s gaping political divides.

And Reuters reports:

A former Thai magazine editor was jailed for 10 years on Wednesday for insulting the royal family under the country’s draconian lese-majeste law, a sentence that drew condemnation from international rights groups and the European Union.

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was found guilty of publishing articles defaming King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2010 when he was editor of a magazine devoted to self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Categories
Thai politics Thailand

Thaksin Talks to Bloomberg about Yingluck, the Amnesty Bill, and Lèse-Majesté

Bloomberg interviewed Thailand’s former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and has run two stories that are worth a look.

The pieces are here:

Former Thai Premier Thaksin Shinawatra said his sister’s government will avoid conflicts like those that led to his ouster in a 2006 coup, even as it presses ahead with efforts to curb the power of the courts.

…and here:

Any changes to a Thai law that protects Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and other royal family members from insults should come from his advisers, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said.

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Thai politics

Red Shirt 112 Sticker Evokes Pizza Company Logo

2012 06 22 112 pizza co

Related to my last post

@Anasuya found this notable sticker today at a Red Shirt event here in Bangkok.

Yes, it refers to lèse-majesté — Article 112 of the Thai criminal code — and is modeled on…the Pizza Company logo.

Pizza Company restaurants are popular and widespread here in Thailand, and their advertisements often include a jingle with the number you dial for delivery: 1112.

Hence, the play on 112 and the (likely unintentionally misspelled) reference to “fast derivery.”

Categories
Thai politics Thailand

Bloomberg on 112 and Lèse-majesté

Bloomberg reports today:

For all the bickering among Thai political parties, they agree on one thing: Now isn’t the time to amend a law last changed in 1976 that has been used to shield the royal family from criticism.

Worth a read.

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Thai politics

Al Jazeera Report on ‘Uncle SMS’ and Lèse-Majesté

Al Jazeera ran a video report yesterday on Thailand’s lèse-majesté laws and the late “Uncle SMS.”

The piece is embedded above and is on YouTube here.