Further updated: Lese majeste repression and provocation increased

15 04 2011

This post is really a part of a series of posts we have had. They are, in reverse order:

MCOT News adds to our list of reports that show the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime’s political use of lese majeste as a tool of repression and as an election gimmick. Thailand’s political police, known as the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has said that:

at least 18 leaders of the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) made inappropriate remarks about the monarchy at their recent Red Shirt rally.

DSI Director-General Tharit Pengdit said after screening video clips, still pictures and speeches made by the leaders during the rally in the capital on April 10, it was found that at least 18 were allegedly made remarks which were deemed insulting to the revered monarch as well as instigating people to violate law.

Tharit also said he would submit requests to revoke the earlier bail granted to nine UDD core leaders. They are: Nattawut Saikua, Weng Tojirakan, Korkaew Pikulthong, Kwanchai Praiphana, Yoswasris Chuklom (Jeng Dokchik), Nisit Sinthuprai, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Veera Musigapong and Jatuporn Promphan.

PPT suspects that the political backers of the government are either trying to provoke red shirt violence before an election and/or to prevent and election and/or seeking to remove red shirt leaders from the political arena in order to silence them. Whatever is the case, the regime should be condemned for its blatant authoritarianism and political manipulation that some of the world’s worst dictators would be proud of.

Update 1: A reader rightly points out that one of the reasons the Abhisit government feels it can use lese majeste with impunity is because foreign governments themselves are reluctant to criticize the position of the monarchy in Thailand and the political use of lese majeste. The reader says that the recent U.S. State Department human rights report falls neatly into this category. It fails to make a strong and explicit link between lese majeste and political prisoners. PPT thinks the reader is absolutely correct and might have added Amnesty International to the list. Indeed, it seems AI and the U.S. State Department read from the same game plan.

Update 2: The Nation reports on the above and includes a comment from the Puea Thai Party where it claims Army spokesman “Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd had smeared Pheu Thai when he accused an unnamed political party of being behind the red shirts in their moves to insult the monarchy.” Puea Thai said:  “Political parties are loyal to the monarchy. The Army should not mix the job of running the country with loyalty to the monarchy. That is improper. Pheu Thai has many [retired] senior bureaucrats and armed forces commanders. They agree that some of their junior colleagues in the Army are overacting and claiming they are the only group with loyalty to the monarchy…”.


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