Lese majeste feud

23 12 2015

red candleLese majeste has mostly been used as a political tool to lock up opponents of authoritarian or military-backed regimes. However, there have been some cases reported where lese majeste has been used in personalized disputes.

Prachatai reports another case that seems to fall into the latter category.

On 23 December 2015, Chiang Mai Police arrested Wichai Thepphong (วิชัย เทพวงศ์) for allegedly “creating a copycat facebook profile under his [former] friend’s name and posted lese majeste messages on it to avenge his [former] friend.”

The 33-year-old was charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Code “after the Military Court issued an arrest warrant against him on 15 December 2015.”

Wichai was “arrested after the police received a complaint from an unidentified facebooker that an individual created a copycat facebook profile under his name and posted messages defamatory to the … monarchy on it.”

The police concluded that Wichai, “who was a best friend turned foe of the facebooker who submitted a complaint,” had created the fake Facebook profile.

A couple of points come to mind. First, because the lese majeste law is both draconian and allows anyone to make a complaint, it is subject to abuse by anyone, including the authorities. Second, it is remarkable and a sad testament to authoritarianism, that this case has been the responsibility of a military court.



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