End lese majeste repression!

30 11 2011

The Bangkok Post reports that the “Santiprachatham Network, a group of well-known academics and social activists in and outside Thailand, has called on the Thai judiciary to better uphold the principles of justice, humanity, democracy and basic rights.”

Their  appeal was made on Facebook and through other social media and referred to the conviction of Ampol Tangnopakul and his 20 year sentence. The appeal points out that there was “widespread criticism about the evidence and reasoning used during the trial” and talked of Thailand’s “flawed judicial system.”

The appeal was signed by well-known academics including Charnvit Kasetsiri, Nidhi Eowsriwong and Thongchai Winichakul. They argue that “Article 112, better known as the lese majeste law, and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act had become tools to create fear rather than justice.” They added that “people who use these mechanisms to suppress people with different political views must realise that their actions will only cause social division and intensify hatred in society.” Further: “Their actions are destroying Thai society in the name of the monarchy…”. This is a remarkably strong statement.

The group also “called for all political parties and political groups to stop using accusations of disloyalty to the monarchy to eliminate people who hold different political beliefs.” It demanded that the Yingluck Shinawatra government “show its courage by pushing for legal reforms and overhaul all lese majeste laws in line with the principles of democracy, rights and liberty of the people without delay.”

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