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Monday, October 25, 2021

Lèse-Majesté Law Abolition: Thais Ask United Nations For Help

Democracy group submits a petition on International Human Rights Day

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Chatwan Mongkol
A freelance journalist based in Bangkok, Thailand covering Thai politics

THAILAND. Bangkok: A youth-led democracy group submitted a petition on 10 Dec, to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council demanding it and the international community to put pressure on the Thai government to repeal the lèse-majesté law and to drop all lèse-majesté charges against anti-establishment activists.

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The petition states that the law was enforced after it has not been used for two years, but the problems with the law are that its interpretation is vague and excessive. People who faced lèse-majesté charges in the past did not tend to be released on bail even though they did not intend to flee their cases, according to the petition.

Photo credit: Chatwan Mongkol

Following the anti-establishment movement aiming to reform the monarchy, at least 24 activists have been summoned by the police on the lèse-majesté charges in recent weeks, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

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The law was in place to protect the royals from public criticism. It states in the constitution that “whoever, defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the heir-apparent or the regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.”

Photo credit: Chatwan Mongkol

Former lèse-majesté prisoners were also at the event to speak about their severe experiences facing the lèse-majesté.

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Even though the law has not been enforced for two years, dissidents still faced legal actions under other laws such as sedition laws and computer crime law.

Despite the small number of crowds, the authorities put up shipping containers and razor wires at an intersection next to the UN building, blocking people from heading to the Government House, in the middle of the night hours before the scheduled event.

The event was one of the two events on 10 Dec, that revolved around the abolition of the lèse-majesté law. Besides it being International Human Rights Day, it is also Constitution Day in Thailand.

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