Saturday, April 4, 2009

10 years for Lese Majeste

The Nation

A man was yesterday sentenced to 10 years in jail for posting on the Internet doctored images mocking certain members of the royal family.

The Criminal Court found Suwicha or Chinnapat Thakho, a 34-year-old resident of Nakhon Phanom province, guilty of acting in contempt of the monarchy. The defendant was found to have violated the Penal Code, the Constitution and the Computer Crime Act.--


The court yesterday gave an initial penalty of 20 years' imprisonment but later reduced it by half due to the defendant's confession. Suwicha, taken from the Bangkok Remand Prison in inmate attire to attend the verdict reading, wept with his parents and relatives from Nakhon Phanom upon hearing the ruling.

As a blogger, I follow as many stories on Thailand as possible. I'd say that the lese majeste stories get more international exposure than anything else. The reason I think they get so much coverage is because the penalties are draconian.

20 years in jail for posting a doctored picture of the King on the internet?

Murderers, drug dealers, rapists, child molesters, corrupt officials get lower penalties than that.

The crime is stupid and the penalties unjust. I think it is insulting to the monarchy for people to think national security is threatened because of some lame picture on the internet.


Unknown said...

Fonzi, you miss the point. I believe everyone misses the point.

This has nothing to do with the King. The King is merely a symbol of the ruling classes, as he has always been and as Giles rightly maintains, a figurehead, a weak man who is used by the ruling classes as a shibboleth whose only use is to represent some vague notion 'Thai-ness'. It is a travesty.

The crime is not one of offending the King,it is the crime of rejecting and rebelling against the ruling classes, which is why (and the only reason why) it is classed as a 'threat to national security'.

The ego of the puhyay cannot tolerate anything but complete and total submission to his will and dictat.


Fonzi said...


I don't disagree with you.

The King probably doesn't have that much power.

It is everybody else who uses the monarchy to protect their own power and feudal privileges, or as you put it, "Thainess."

This is why Thaksin is such a threat.

Even though at one time he hid behind and exploited pooyai privileges, he can claim to be its victim now, and he has the clout to overthrow it, but the paradox, of course, is that if he ever came back to power, will he just replace the ancien regime with his own version of neo-feudalism? His record speaks for itself. But it seems he has awaken a democratic genie that can never be put back in the bottle.

Figuratively, the Bastille has been stormed, but how far and how bloody will it go before there is any kind of normalcy.

The ancient regime is in its death throes and all the lese majeste cases and crack downs are nothing but reactionary politics to stall the inevitable.