Lese majeste bail

26 11 2014

A report in Prachatai states that lese majeste prisoner Opas Charnsuksai has been refused bail for a fourth time. He was first arrested on 15 October 2014 after being accused of posting anti-coup graffiti that was also claimed to be somehow anti-monarchy.

In chains - CopyMany readers will agree that there is nothing unusual in this for lese majeste cases. That is certainly true.

The grounds for refusal were the usual one in highly politicized cases: the charges are “serious” and the 67 year-old was a “flight risk.” While we might guess that the military courts and its “judges” are politically biased in any matter related to justice, they are just as politicized as the civilian court judges in lese majeste cases.

The refusal of bail is not necessarily illegal in a military court and under martial law, however, the refusal of bail is an infringement of human rights. In the case of lese majeste, a feudal law is enforced by a judicial system that is highly politicized and deeply royalist.

It is important that the international community take notice of the vast abuses of human rights and of law that are occurring in Thailand under the military dictatorship. The use of lese majeste to oppress and suppress has expanded hugely under the junta, but the international community is too quiet.

That an 67 year-old man is chained and kept in custody on charges related to a feudal institution is a disgrace.

 


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