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United Nations condemns Thailand’s use of lèse majesté law against minor | VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: UN News

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has expressed shock and dismay at Thailand’s use of its strict lèse majesté law against a 16 year old pro-democracy activist. The lèse majesté law, also known as Section 112 of the Criminal Code, prohibits insulting, defaming, or criticising the Thai Monarchy, and carries a punishment of up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

OHCHR (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani has called on Thailand to refrain from using the law against those exercising their right to freedom of speech, as she expressed alarm that a minor was being charged under the law. The OHCHR has repeatedly urged Thailand to amend the law to meet the Kingdom’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“It is extremely disappointing that after a period of 2 years without any cases, we are suddenly witnessing a large number of cases, and – shockingly – now also against a minor. We also remain concerned that other serious criminal charges are being filed against protesters engaged in peaceful protests in recent months, including charges of sedition and offences under the Computer Crime Act. Again, such charges have been filed against a minor, among others.”

With Thailand’s political unrest showing no sign of ending any time soon, the OHCHR is calling on the government to refrain from bringing serious charges against pro-democracy activists who are gathering peacefully and expressing their opinion. It says such acts should not result in retaliation.

“The UN Human Rights Committee has found that detention of individuals solely for exercising the right to freedom of expression or other human rights constitutes arbitrary arrest or detention. We also urge the government to amend the lèse majesté law and bring it into line with Article 19 of the ICCPR on the right to freedom of expression.”

You can watch a video of the OHCHR statement below.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Chongtak

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Good luck with that UN, Thailand takes but never gives.

    • Avatar

      Slugger

      Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 7:52 pm

      In other words, bend the law to suit the offenders. Get real UNCHR.

    • Avatar

      Singharacha

      Monday, December 21, 2020 at 7:18 am

      United Nations High Commission for Human Rights counts as members some countries like :

      Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela…

      Many of these countries apply Sharriah and it’s horrible.

      And these are the countries that allow themselves to judge “human rights” in Thailand? It’s making fun of the world.

      • Avatar

        Shishi

        Monday, December 21, 2020 at 4:18 pm

        Do you even know what is Shariah law is other than you hear from main MSM? I am not concerned about any of your list except the UAE as if the law in your country Plato’s Utopia not politically motivated along with vast violations through recent history.

        We never intervene on others affairs, Before judging others maybe you should take a look at yourself first, Judge others when you are perfect.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    I go along 100% with what the King, Rama X, and his late father, Rama IX, said about the lèse majesté law – that it shouldn’t be used.

    All the more so since those nowusing / abusing it are playing straight into the hands of the foreign media and foreign organisations who want to interfere in Thai politics and Thai affairs for their own ends, making martyrs of those accused of lèse majesté who otherwise nobody would have heard of or care about.

    As for the “UNHCR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani”‘s statement that “we also urge the government to amend the lèse majesté law and bring it into line with Article 19 of the ICCPR on the right to freedom of expression”, like most UN office staff she’s overpaid and underinformed as, like it or not, (FWIW I don’t) the law already IS “in line with Article 19:

    “The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

    (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

    (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.”

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 10:51 pm

      What is your problem, honestly?
      Why is is you are such a bleating sychophant and apologist? It’s so unlike a westerner to talk like you that I’m beginning to suspect that you’re not a westerner at all, but yet another CCP stooge.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 1:12 pm

        Not “apologising” for anything, Preesy.

        I’m strongly against the lèse majesté law, and I’ve said so repeatedly.

        I also think the authorities are being stupid to use it as it’s counter-productive and makes martyrs of those it’s used against, as i’ve also said repeatedly.

        If you’ve got a “problem” with that, or you disagree that “like most UN office staff she’s overpaid and underinformed”, then feel free to say why, instead of just coming out with this cr@p about “another CCP stooge” for anyone who disagrees with you.

  3. Avatar

    gosport

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Hold on Thailand, holding your laws firm.

  4. Avatar

    Jason

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    I don’t know how many times, if ever, the Leste majeste Laws were used during the reign of King Rama IX. Of course, His Majesty Rama IX was loved by the people because of the many royal projects completed during His reign and His accessibility to the people.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      From Wiki:

      “Between 1990 and 2005, there was an average of five new lèse-majesté cases per year. Since then, however, there have been at least 400 cases—an estimated 1,500 percent increase. Prior to the 2006 coup, targets of lèse-majesté were mostly politicians, high-ranking bureaucrats and extra-constitutional figures, but after 2007, common people were charged. The law was interpreted to cover past monarchs and symbols associated with the monarch. No one had been sentenced to more than ten years in jail before 2007. Observers attributed the increasing number of lèse-majesté cases to King Bhumibol’s public invitation of criticism in 2005, increased polarization following the 2006 military coup, and to speculation over his declining health in the period before his death in 2016.

      In 2005, cases registered in the Attorney General’s office rose sharply from 12 new cases in 2000–2004 to 17. Thai Rak Thai and Democrat Party as well as opposition movement People’s Alliance for Democracy traded lèse-majesté accusations. Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s alleged lèse-majesté was one of the stated reasons for the Thai military’s 2006 coup. After the coup, dozens of radio stations were shut down because of alleged lèse-majesté.

      Academics have been investigated, imprisoned, and forced into exile over accusations of lèse-majesté. Prominent historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul was arrested for proposing an eight-point plan to reform of the monarchy. Professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn went into exile in 2007 after his book, A Coup for the Rich, questioned Bhumibol’s role in the 2006 coup. In March 2011, Worachet Pakeerat, a law lecturer, banded together with same-minded lecturers and formed the Nitirat Group, aiming to amend the lèse-majesté law. He proposed reducing the maximum jail term to three years, a circumstance for pardoning, and that only the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary could file a complaint. His actions angered many people. In February 2012, he was assaulted in broad daylight in Bangkok.

      During the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, the number of arrests and convictions for lèse-majesté offences declined significantly. However, she said she would not seek to reform the law. There were 478 cases in 2010.
      A banner in Bangkok informs that using social media to “like” or “share” a picture or article could land them in prison. The banner asks people to “join together to protect the monarchy”.

      In May 2014, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the military junta, granted authority to a military tribunal to prosecute lèse-majesté in Thailand. Military courts routinely imposed harsher sentences than civilian courts would. In August 2015, the Bangkok Military Court sentenced Pongsak Sriboonpeng to 60 years in prison for his six Facebook postings (later reduced to 30 years, when he pleaded guilty). This was Thailand’s longest recorded sentence for lèse-majesté. The courts were dubbed “kangaroo courts.”

      iLaw, a Thai non-profit organisation, reported that the junta hold persons in custody for seven days without charges. Secret trials were held. Officials seized personal communication devices to search for incriminating evidence.

      In December 2014, the parents of Srirasmi Suwadee, formerly a Thai princess, were sentenced for “insulting the royal family and lodging a malicious claim”.

      In 2015, Prachatai published an infographic showing that bathroom graffiti, a hand gesture, a hearsay report of a taxi conversation, and not standing during the playing of the royal anthem, among other things, could be punished as acts of lèse-majesté. A nurse wearing black on Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday was charged with lèse-majesté.

      The last formal attempt to amend the law occurred in May 2012 when more than 10,000 people signed a petition to parliament, but Speaker of the House of Representatives, Somsak Kiatsuranont, dismissed it citing that amendment of the law concerning the monarchy was not a constitutional right.”

  5. Avatar

    Alan

    Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 12:10 am

    What can you expect from a military dictatorship. Thank the yellow shirts, they put these clowns in power.

  6. Avatar

    Political Observer

    Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 4:14 am

    Lese majeste is purely and simply a legal tool used to control the population and to maintain Thailand as a quasi-feudal society for the benefit of the oligarchs and plutocrats who own and control everything.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 10:53 am

      Exactly.
      Thanks for that. You saved me having to type it out P O.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 1:27 pm

        Agreed, Toby and PO.

        It’s simply being abused, and since both Rama X and Rama IX have said it shouldn’t be used you would think that logically those using it have to be guilty of lèse majesté themsleves.

  7. Avatar

    Dao

    Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 11:58 am

    So slandering the king is now considered “pro democracy” and protests / anarchy should be excused to accommodate minors? Let’s be clear – Thailand allows freedom of speech, not slander. I recommend that all of the “woke” ungrateful kids demonstrating how much they hate their king and the history of their country pack their bags and leave. Try throwing your baseless temper tantrums in Cambodia or Myanmar… see how it works out for you.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 1:38 pm

      What, exactly, is the “slander”, Dao?

      What have they actually said that damages anyone’s reputation?

      … and where is the “anarchy”?

      I haven’t seen any of that reported in the media, so maybe you could enlighten me … or maybe not.

      As for what you “recommend”, maybe you could explain just where and when the kids demonstrating have said “how much they hate their king and the history of their country”?

      Or are you just saying that “minors” shouldn’t be allowed to protest about their country but should just accept the status quo because it’s better than “Cambodia or Myanmar”?

      As a guest here and a visitor I’m not taking sides, just trying to establish exactly what the facts are and what you’re views are, as presumably you’re Thai.

  8. Avatar

    Peter Pape

    Sunday, December 20, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    The UN’s Human Rights Reps have never made a great impression to me. They’re basically toothless tigers moaning about Human Rights issues which often enough they see totally outside cultural realities like: In Asia most countries follow Konfuzism in which you don’t question your superior. Try to implement western type democracy (better not the US Style) in China with it’s 1.4 Billion People – i wish you good luck. The recent Corona Outbreak in Wuhan a multimillion inhabitant Town has proven that strict measures need to be implemented and……… followed by all. thailand is what it is and it’s been that way for a long time attracting most of us Farangs to come here in the first place. UN stands for United Nations but should better be called United NOTHINGS.

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