Kavi on Suwicha, AHRC calls for protest of lesè majesté and other repressive laws

6 04 2009

Kavi Chongkittavorn at the Nation recently wrote about Suwicha’s case and the broader implications. See 6 April 2009, “Better ways to save Thai online freedom” While arguing that the punishment Suwicha received is too harsh, Kavi leaves the basic premise of the lesè majesté law unquestioned, and instead  “In fact, an urgent and frequently asked question is quite simple: why were these offensive pictures, including old and fresh ones, posted in cyberspace in the first place? Who were these people? Investigations should have been seriously conducted to go after the culprits, who could be far or near to the sources.”  The piece closes with this comment: “Like all previous cases, the only way to rescue Suwicha’s family from the quagmire confronting them is by a royal pardon. His lawyer said that he would seek one. This is a matter of urgency as lives are at stake here. It is hoped that common sense will prevail in our country with its long tradition of freedom of expression and pragmatism.” Instead, PPT asks,  as long as the lesè majesté law exists, can there be freedom of expression in Thailand?

On 6 April 2009, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission issued an urgent appeal in response the conviction and sentencing of Suwicha Thakor. The AHRC urges individuals to send letters of protest calling for Suwicha’s immediate release and “the amendment of the criminal law in Thailand so as to cease violating the freedom of expression of the country’s citizens and residents.”  PPT urges readers to follow the AHRC’s suggestion to send letters of protest — please see the full AHRC appeal, including a sample letter and contact information for the relevant authorities: “Man given ten years imprisonment for lese-majesty online”

Every voice counts — and for readers outside Thailand in particular — to paraphrase Aung San Suu Kyi’s words from another context — use your liberty to promote that of people living inside Thailand.



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