Sondhi and lese majeste

21 08 2012

AFP reports on Sondhi Limthongkul’s lese majeste case as the extreme royalist and nationalist People’s Alliance for Democracy ideologue prepares for court once more in the next few days. He is accused of repeating excerpts of a speech by red shirt political activist Darunee Charnchoensilpakul that has seen her sentenced to 15 years in jail following sham trials.

Sondhi, who is often obtuse in his comments on his activities, has “denied charges of insulting the monarchy, saying his trial was politically motivated.” He did not nominate who the political opponents pushing the case were, but added that his “aim was to tell people that there was an insult against the monarchy, and to encourage the police to take legal action against those who said it…”. In other words, he claims to have been charged for “protecting” the monarchy while acting as a highly public snitch.

Sondhi claims that he had no “intention to insult the monarchy and all my past actions show my loyalty to the monarchy…”.That said, Sondhi has not only been in dispute with pro-Thaksin groups. As we posted not long ago, he has a long dispute with people close to Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda. The 2009 assassination attempt on Sondhi has not been consistently attributed to either side.

The legal action on his case goes back to 2008, under the pro-Thaksin Shinawatra government led by the late Samak Sundaravej. Darunee, arrested at about the same  time,  has been through two trials and has been locked up for the whole period; Sondhi has been free and the trial delayed over the whole period.

As well as mentioning several convictions that have been handed out to Sondhi – yet he remains out of prison – the AFP report adds: “The Yellows claim allegiance to the throne and are backed by the Bangkok-based elite…”. While PAD has declined, it remains a potential political weapon and is much admired by senior members of the Democrat Party.


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