Bundith again charged with lese majeste

21 02 2015

PPT is sorry to have to report a second case of lese majeste against 74 year-old Bundith Arniya.

At Prachatai it is reported the military’s Judge Advocate General’s Office file charges against the now 74 year-old for asking questions about the constitutional monarchy at a seminar.

The seminar, organized in Bangkok by Waranchai Chokchana, was on 26 November 2014. It attracted just over a dozen people. Bundith was reportedly arrested at the seminar before he had even finished his speech, although the prosecutor alleged that the lese majeste comment was made after the panel ended. Prachatai reported that Bundith stated:

“My point is now Thai people are separated into two sides: The one which is in favour of a monarchy which does not abide by the law, as the head of the state…. I have a question: between keeping the monarchy and XXXX, which one…” Bundit was arrested by police before he could finish his sentence. (The phrase in italics is a paraphrase and the black highlight covers words that are censored in order to avoid repeating the alleged lèse majesté content.)

According to the military’s prosecutor, saying that the monarchy does not abide by the law and to ask about the two choices constitute contempt of the king and lese majeste.

As in his previous case, Bundith has been released on bail. This may be because of his poor health. As noted above, he has mental health problems and he has only one kidney and has to carry a urine drainage bag.

In his first case, Bundith faced an ongoing case of lese majeste for several years for alleged comments made on 22 September 2003 when he apparently objected to the display of the king’s photo in a meeting and distributed documents promoting democracy. The case was eventually finished with found guilty on 17 February 2014. In that case, it was the secretary of the Privy Council,  who was the plaintiff. Some of the case was reportedly heard in a closed courtroom. He was eventually found guilty and handed a suspended sentence of three years in prison.

The royals seldom forgive or forget.


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