The king and lese majeste

12 11 2014

Whenever there are debates over the lese majeste law – and they can’t be held in Thailand today – there are those who will suggest that the king is not in favor of the law. This usually involves citing the famous speech where the king made remarks attacking then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in the context of disingenuously claiming that the king could be criticized.

PPT has never bought this blarney, where we point to the fact that he or his minions could intervene and make his “position” known. In fact, we think he does do that, but his position is to support the aggressive use of the draconian law, most especially when he feels that the monarchy is under pressure.

Khaosod reports a case that has been going on for a very long time, and this is the first time PPT has seen a reference to the case for a considerable period.

In the first week of November 2010, Sqn Ldr Chanin Khlaikhlung became the first casualty of Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon warning that the military needed to weed out anti-monarchists in its ranks. He allegedly posted lese majeste messages on Facebook.

Khaosod reports that the King “has rescinded the royal decorations of a Redshirt activist facing charges of insulting the royal family.”

This is the first time we have heard that Chanin is claimed to be a red shirt.

The Office of Prime Minister has announced that Chanin “has been stripped of the Order of the White Elephant and the Order of the Crown of Thailand, two decorations he earned for his ‘extraordinary’ service as a flight technician in the military.” The reports continues:

According to the statement, the decorations were rescinded because Sqn.Ldr. Chanin “violated the disciplines of the armed forces with his serious, evil behaviour, and insulted, defamed, and displayed vengeful expression toward His Majesty the King.”

We learn that the “military expelled Chanin from the Air Force on 26 May 2014, four days after Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power from the elected government in a military coup.”

Chanin is now reported to be a “staunch supporter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the political groups allied to him, is considered to be one of the few outspoken Redshirt activists in the armed forces.”

Chanin is said to have “regularly expressed support for the shadowy militants who launched gun and grenade attacks on anti-government protesters during their campaign against the administration led by Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, in 2013-2014.” This is since he was charged with lese majeste.

The report states that “Chanin has claimed on Facebook that he is now living in exile in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where Thaksin also lives in self-imposed exile…”.

Chanin states: “I am still proud of my actions and attempt to defend freedom and democracy,” Chanin wrote. “You may be a general, I may be a civilian, but you and I are no different in the land that has true freedom, and, ultimately, in the land of heaven or hell.”


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