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Deputy PM refutes claim that using lèse majesté law damages Monarchy

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: VOA News

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam has dismissed claims that invoking Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law is damaging to the Monarchy. He insists the law has been in use for years and can be applied in the case of current protesters who violate it through their public speeches.

Wissanu was responding to a claim from renowned academic Sulak Sivaraksa, who has slammed the government for resorting to Section 112 of the Criminal Code. Section 112 forbids insulting, defaming, or threatening the Monarchy, and a violation carries a punishment of up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Earlier this week, police confirmed that 12 protesters have been summonsed to face lèse majesté charges, a move which some say is designed to leave protest movements leaderless. Sulak addressed a large rally in front of the Siam Commercial Bank’s headquarters in Bangkok on Wednesday, to accuse the government of harming the Monarchy by its use of the law. He has pointed out that the late King Bhumibol described the law as an assault on him and that the current Monarch, His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn, has also asked for it not to be used.

Sulak says the government must stop invoking the law in order to allow for a peaceful debate to take place on the role of the Monarchy. The current anti-government protests, which have been running since mid-July, are calling for reforms that will make Thailand’s highest institution more accountable to the people. The demand is highly controversial, broaching as it does, a topic that has until now been completely taboo. Protesters are also calling for the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and a re-write of the Constitution, followed by the dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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