Updated: Lese majeste abolished

29 01 2017

What a wonderful idea, getting rid of feudal laws. It’s happened! But not in feudal Thailand. On 25 January, the German cabinet decided to abolish the crime of lese majeste.

A reader pointed out an article in the Straits Times reporting that “almost a year after a comedian was accused of offending a foreign leader after reciting an obscene poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan,” the German cabinet “agreed to scrap the relevant passage in the penal code…”.

The law was all but forgotten in German until the “outraged Turkish leader filed a complaint with German prosecutors on the basis of that passage in the [lese majeste] law.”

Justice Minister Heiko Maas – unlike Thailand, this is a minister who seems to value “justice” – stated: “The idea of lese majesty arose in an era long gone by. It no longer belongs in our criminal law…”. Germany is a republic, but Thailand could easily learn something from a modern country.

Update: A reader rightly points out that PPT missed an important link here. Of course, the king has long principally resided in republican Germany. We can only wonder if the abolition of lese majeste there will make some impression on him about feudal Thailand’s use of lese majeste to jail people for years and years.


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