Nitirat, Somyos and lese majeste

26 04 2012

Readers may be wondering what has happened to the Nitirat group of lawyers proposing lese majeste, constitutional and other legal reform. It is back in the news.

At the Bangkok Post, Worachet Pakeerut states that the group “will continue campaigning for an amendment to Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law.” He added that the group now had the required 10,000 signatures  to push parliament to consider amendment of the law.

Of course, that doesn’t help Somyos Prueksakasemsuk who faces a court case on lese majeste right now. But interestingly, a prosecution witness, the royalist Thongthong Chandrangsu, who is now Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office – yes, a royalist is running Yingluck Shinawatra’s show – has made a direct link.

At Prachatai it is reported that Thongthong, who some claim is a legal expert on the constitution and king, told the court that:

in his opinion one of the two articles in the Voice of Taksin magazine which referred to the history of late Thonburi and early Rattanakosin period was defamatory….

And he went further. He stated stating that Article 112 was currently “harsher than it was during the absolute monarchy” and stating that “in his view the penalty of 3-15 years’ imprisonment is too harsh and not proportionate to the offence.” He observed that “more serious crimes were subject to less severe punishment [than lèse majesté offences].”

He also noted serious discrepancies between Article 112 of the Criminal Code and Article 326 “which involved ordinary people.” He appeared to accept that Article 112 offences involved “national security, but not to the extent that the state would not survive.”

Then he stated that:

amendment of Section 112 as proposed by the Nitirat group would retain the true principles of the law as opposed to being used as a political tool.

Meanwhile, at the Bangkok Post, Nitirat is reported to have “voiced opposition to a general amnesty for all political offenders proposed as part of the government’s attempts to achieve national reconciliation.”

 

 

 


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