Another Thaksin Critic Jailed?
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Another Thaksin Critic Jailed?

ABC (Australia):

An Australian barrister is accusing the Federal Government of failing to help an Australian writer who is in jail in Bangkok on charges of insulting the Thai monarchy.
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Harry Nicolaides was arrested in August because of a brief passage in a novel he published in 2005, referring to rumours about the Thai royal family.
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Mr Nicolaides has been in jail for more than two months and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison if convicted.
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Barrister Mark Dean says the Government has failed to meet its responsibilities.
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The Australian Government, that is, the Foreign Minister, part of his principal responsibilities are to protect Australian citizens in circumstances such as this, particularly where a citizen is being used for political reasons,” he said.
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“And so far the Australian Government, from what we can tell, has done nothing.”
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The default Australian Government position has indicated by the Australian Foreign Ministry on Australians arrested abroad is that the government cannot “[s]eek better treatment for you than that provided to the host country’s own citizens or other nationals”. It further states:

Many Australians have found that overseas laws and legal processes can be very different to those in Australia and that harsh penalties can apply to actions that may not be considered a crime in Australia.  Australian consular officers can take no position on the harshness or otherwise of local laws.  While you are in another country, you are required to respect and abide by that country’s laws as you are required to respect and abide by Australian laws when you are home. Legal processes in some countries can take much longer than for similar legal processes in Australia.

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BP: Translation, tough luck Harry. Freedom Against Censorship Thailand blogs on the lese majeste issue:

 When, exactly, and where, precisely, has lese majeste been anything other than a political tool, no matter how revered the monarch?

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BP: This was in response to an editorial in The Nation.* Lese majeste is often used against political opponents, but was Harry a Thaksin critic and did Thaksin followers pressed the complaint? (actually, from I hear there are links between the complaint and the one filed against Jakrapob, Jonathan Head). I also don’t think publicity helps his case and the more publicity it receives, the more the “freedom-of-speech-loving elements” of the Thai media (i.e Sopon, The Manager et al) will make it a public issue. He has two choices (1) fight the case and spend years in jail pending his trial and appeals, or (2) plead guilty, beg forgiveness and receive a pardon and be back in Australia next year (in all lese majeste cases against foreigners I am aware of, all those who have plead guilty have been granted a pardon). Seriously, who would choose (1) over (2)? Who wants to spend a few years in a Thai jail on the grounds of “principle”?
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h/t 2Bangkok.com
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*There is no way I can let that editorial slide by with the title “Don’t use lese majeste as a political tool”. Of course, when the Democrats were calling Jakrapob “dangerous” for his speech at the FCCT and charges were being filed against him, months after his speech, The Nation editorial line, even if he stepped down was “Jakrapob must still answer for his words” and in another editorial state that he is ”part of a diabolical plot to destroy the Thai establishment”. How things change…