C.J. Hinke on lese majeste

21 09 2009

Rehabilitation and the politics of prison

Anyone who has read anything about Thai prisons will readily acknowledge that their purpose is political. After visiting inmates at Bang Kwang, providing food and books and DVDs to prisoners I never met before, I am convinced that all prisoners are political prisoners.

Prisons serve only to warehouse citizens, not only in Thailand but in most countries. For the period of imprisonment, those particular prisoners cannot commit their crime again and serve as a social reminder to others who have no wish to join them.

I quote Winston Churchill: “Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.” Ah, Winnie, you old Commie!

So let’s not talk about Khun Darunee “realising her mistakes and correcting them”; that’s not the way prison sentences work–there’s nor “Sorry” or “Get out of gaol free” cards. It’s 18 years inside if a prisoner is not paroled following two-thirds of their sentence.

Darunee has every legal and human right to apply for a Royal pardon and I have every confidence she would receive one. However, her political views on the monarchy may preclude her application on principle. If she will not apply to Nai Luang on humanitarian principles, this should not prevent her release on humanitarian grounds. Should Thais be exempt from practicing simple Buddhist humanity towards others?

Similarly, it is doubtful Ajarn Ji will ever be allowed to return to Thailand a free man, even under successive changes of government.

Are these people so dangerous to our society? Or is Thailand afraid that some grain of truth they express may strike a resonant chord in other citizens who will then become convinced against the monarchy and foment a Republican revolution? Thailand as Republican domino?!?

If any reader thinks this is even a remote possibility, you must live in a different Thailand than mine!

Ji’s exile and Darunee’s 18 years belie any pretence of free expression in our beloved Thailand.


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22 09 2009
Twitter Trackbacks for New: C.J. Hinke on lese majeste « Political Prisoners in Thailand [thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

[…] New: C.J. Hinke on lese majeste « Political Prisoners in Thailand thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/new-c-j-hinke-on-lese-majeste – view page – cached Anyone who has read anything about Thai prisons will readily acknowledge that their purpose is political. After visiting inmates at Bang Kwang, providing food and books and DVDs to prisoners I never met before, I am convinced that all prisoners are political prisoners. — From the page […]

22 09 2009



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