Anti-Thaksin royalist Dr. Tul: Lese majeste law is being abusedBy Bangkok Pundit Jan 01, 2012 9:00AM UTC
French journalist Arnaud Dubus recently blogged about an interview he did with Dr. Tul Sitthisomwong, multi-colored group/Network of Citizen Volunteers Protecting the Land, on lese majeste law. Key excerpt:
The group which asked for reform of article 112 claims that the punishment is too severe, with a minimum sentence of three years and a maximum sentence of 15 years, which is different from other countries with a monarchy. I agree with some reforms, because some actions should not be punished by three years in jail. But for some other actions, if they are only punished by three years, it is too little. It is a little bit weird that the law covers dirty talk about the king as well as not standing up during the royal anthem. But some people are telling lies about the king, they should be punished more strongly.
So for myself, I think there should be a distinction : if you act like this, you get one, two or three years ; if you act like this, you are punished five to ten years ; if it is something which disturbs national security, it should be higher than ten years. It should be proportionate to the action.
Another thing is when somebody is personally defamed, he usually files charges at the police station by himself. But because the king is the Head of State, he can not be involved with the criminal court. Now, anyone can file charges if there is offense to the king. So, I also agree that there must be some control system, like a committee to consider the complaints. If some Thai knows about someone who did something wrong in connection with LM, he has to send the complaint to that committee first. And if the committee considers that there is a case, he would send it to the attorney general.
First of all, I think that for ordinary people, if they do their job normally, no one would be punished. Secondly, I recognized it was used for political means, but there are very few cases.
BP: A committee was set up under the Abhisit government and the Yingluck government has also announced that a committee will review lese majeste cases which appears from a recent Bangkok Post article that the DSI is following this:
A team of officials from the Department of Special Investigation yesterday discussed with public prosecutors the issue of speeding up lese majeste cases, a DSI source said.
The meeting was held because there was apparently no progress in the past year. Of 33 cases, only half were completed.
The source said that to decide if the suspects would be indicted the investigators would determine if the charges had legal merit and when and where the alleged offences were committed.
The source said the team reportedly agreed to follow the Truth for Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation in promoting national reconciliation in pursuing the cases.
BP: So will this lead to fewer lese majeste cases proceeding to prosecution?