Sulak at Akechai’s lese majeste trial

23 02 2013

Yesterday, former and multiple victim of the use of the lese majeste law, Sulak Sivaraksa appeared for the defense in the case against Akechai Hongkangwarn (เอกชัย หงส์กังวาน). Akechai was arrested on 11 March 2011 for allegedly selling copies of the famous Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary on the future of the Thai monarchy, which was aired in Australia in 2010 and which is “deemed by the police and Office of the Attorney General as defaming the Crown Prince.” He was also accused of having copies of Wikileaks accounts of the monarchy, which are also widely available.

In fact, the video is widely available, including in Thailand, and merely shows a birthday party hosted by the prince, where his wife appears essentially naked throughout as birthday cake is fed to the poodle known as Fu Fu. What seems to be defaming is that someone within the palace released it, showing this rather bizarre behavior on the part of the heir apparent. The video is available here.

In his testimony, reported at The Nation, Sulak “urged judges yesterday to be lenient because His Majesty had said very clearly in his 2005 birthday speech that valid criticism against him should be allowed.” He opined:

With due respect, if your honours comprehend His Majesty’s speech then please don’t sentence people [under the lese majeste law]. Judgement should be made with compassion and not by sticking literally to the text….

Sulak

Sulak also warned the judges that Thailand’s vicious use of the law could lead to a situation where the monarchy would be undone, and he claimed “the German monarchy was ousted due to its excessive use of the lese majeste law.” He essentially argued that “the public should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they want to believe in the content of news or documentaries that are critical of the monarchy.” He added: “Criticism is part of a democratic system. Even the Buddha said he could be criticised…”.

A verdict in the case is scheduled for 28 March.


Actions

Information