If in doubt, convict on lese majeste

21 01 2013

PPT 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 passage struck us as significant:

This is indeed a new dimension of how arbitrarily lèse majesté is being applied here, on top of an already ambiguously written law (“insulting, defaming or threatening”): As many other lèse majesté (e.g. Ampon’s) or similar cases (e.g. Chiranuch’s) have shown, the principle is actually “in dubio contra reo” (“when in doubt, decide against the accused”) for many different reasons. Since the presumption of innocence doesn’t apply here, the prosecution is mostly not interested in the actual evidence (or the lack of in some cases), but rather in the “intent” of the alleged crime.