On “implied lese majeste”

18 01 2013

Thomas Fuller at the New York Times has an account of the conviction for lese majeste of Yoswaris Chuklom or . Fuller begins: “It has become almost routine in Thailand for judges to hand down jail sentences to those convicted of offending the country’s king.”112.jpg

In fact, it is not “almost routine.” It is not just routine, it is an essential requirement in the maintenance of the royalist state and the privileges that state doles out to the elite. Fuller goes on to note that yesterday’s verdict was “… an unusual ruling … [that] appears to considerably broaden the interpretation of Thailand’s already restrictive lese majesté law.”

The reason for this is that Jeng was sentenced to two years in jail after the “court ruled that the defendant was liable not only for what he said, but for what he left unsaid.” Fuller observes:

The criminal court’s ruling said the defendant … had not specifically mentioned the king when he gave a speech in 2010 to a large group of people who were protesting a military-backed government of the time.

But by making a gesture of being muzzled — placing his hands over his mouth — Mr. Yossawarit had insinuated that he was talking about the king.

Jeng’s lawyer points out that this judgment “appears to have been the first time that someone was convicted for implying an insult…. There was no mention of the king’s name in the speech…. It’s all interpretation.”

The court ruled that Jeng must have meant the king when he refused to speak the words. Remarkably, the NYT report indicates that people “with no apparent connection to the case were called to the stand and asked to whom they thought Mr. Yossawarit was referring. All of the witnesses said the king.” This is quite amazing and even bizarre stuff!

Many Thais use various, often derogatory, terms to refer to the (now apparently unmentionable) royals because of the fear induced by the lese majeste law and its enforcement by police and (kangaroo) courts. That threat and resulting fear has now been ratcheted up to by several degrees.


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18 01 2013
21 01 2013
If in doubt, convict on lese majeste « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] wishes to draw attention to a recent blog post at Siam Voices on the “implied lese majeste” conviction of Yoswaris Chuklom or Jeng Dokchik. Amongst several important points made, this […]

21 01 2013
If in doubt, convict on lese majeste « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] wishes to draw attention to a recent blog post at Siam Voices on the “implied lese majeste” conviction of Yoswaris Chuklom or Jeng Dokchik. Amongst several important points made, this […]

21 01 2013
Four years of PPT « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] recently seen the definition of what constitutes a crime under lese majeste extended to include implied lese majeste. In a couple of days, one of the most high-profile cases comes to court for sentencing. Somyos […]

21 01 2013
Four years of PPT « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] recently seen the definition of what constitutes a crime under lese majeste extended to include implied lese majeste. In a couple of days, one of the most high-profile cases comes to court for sentencing. Somyos […]

28 01 2013
Right royal company « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] suit the ultra-royalists like the lot who run the courts handing out enormous sentences for, say, words unspoken, fictional accounts of royals or political speeches. As we browsed accounts of Thai-style democracy […]

28 01 2013
Right royal company « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] suit the ultra-royalists like the lot who run the courts handing out enormous sentences for, say, words unspoken, fictional accounts of royals or political speeches. As we browsed accounts of Thai-style democracy […]

29 01 2013
“Reforming” lese majeste « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] as being “culturally appropriate.” The idea that two men are sentenced for things they didn’t say and articles they didn’t write is probably causing them to squirm in their bespoke suits and […]

29 01 2013
“Reforming” lese majeste to save the regime « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] activists as being “culturally appropriate.” The idea that two men are sentenced for things they didn’t say and articles they didn’t write is probably causing them to squirm in their bespoke suits and Thai […]

21 01 2014
Five years of PPT | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] recently seen the definition of what constitutes a crime under lese majeste extended to include implied lese majeste. The high-profile case of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, jailed since 30 April 2011, continued through […]

21 01 2014
Five years of PPT | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] recently seen the definition of what constitutes a crime under lese majeste extended to include implied lese majeste. The high-profile case of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, jailed since 30 April 2011, continued through […]

8 06 2014
Saliva and the military hindquarters | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] so there is no need to respect speech. Or even silence if it comes from anti-coup protesters or from lese majeste convicts who said nothing but still got dragged off to prison. Yes, it’s […]

8 06 2014
Saliva and the military hindquarters | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] so there is no need to respect speech. Or even silence if it comes from anti-coup protesters or from lese majeste convicts who said nothing but still got dragged off to prison. Yes, it’s […]