Updated: Sulak’s lese majeste charges dropped

17 01 2018

Sulak Sivaraksa is one of the few in Thailand who has been able to defeat lese majeste charges. He’s done this repeatedly. And he’s just done it again.

Over the years, since at least 1984, Sulak has faced repeated rounds of lese majeste charges and has spent time in jail.

It is reported that one of the most bizarre of these cases – lese majeste and computer crimes – has been dropped by a military court. The charges related to his questioning, several years ago, whether an ancient story of 17th century King Naresuan’s elephant battle with a Burmese royal was real or a legend.

Sulak stated that “the military tribunal dropped the charge without explanation.” However, Khaosod reports “Maj. Gen. Choedchai Angsusingha, chief military prosecutor, said the case lacked sufficient witnesses to prosecute Sulak…”.

The critic’s capacity to get off such charges is uncanny, especially when hundreds of others fail and many are essentially forced to plead guilty. He’s also adept at getting bail while facing the charges, something precious few others get.

Certainly, one of Sulak’s strengths is the huge international support he receives, through long-established networks of religious and social activists. He’s also got considerable cross-color support in Thailand from academics, NGOs and activists who have associated themselves with Sulak’s work over several decades. Even the junta is reluctant to challenge such a spectrum of opinion-makers. Finally, Sulak is also a self-declared conservative and monarchist. Perhaps that’s why he chose to have this reported: “Sulak said he credited the mercy of King Rama X for the case being dropped.”

Update: Prachatai has a critical op-ed on this case, related to some of the issues we raise in our last paragraph. Well worth reading. The picture of Sulak Sivaraksa receiving an honorary doctorate from King Vajiralongkorn on 1 December 2017 at Thammasat University is clipped from the story.


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19 01 2018
When the military is on top XII | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] For example, commentator Thitinan Pongsudhirak says he can see “civil society noises, together with political parties, are now on rise and may build into a crescendo of opposition to the military government.” Others are pleased to see the detestable Abhisit Vejjaiva “damning” the military government with language that is advisory in tone on General Prawit Wongsuwan’s large collection of luxury watches. On social media, many have lauded the dropping of yet another lese majeste case against Sulak Sivaraksa. […]

19 01 2018
When the military is on top XII | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] For example, commentator Thitinan Pongsudhirak says he can see “civil society noises, together with political parties, are now on rise and may build into a crescendo of opposition to the military government.” Others are pleased to see the detestable Abhisit Vejjaiva “damning” the military government with language that is advisory in tone on General Prawit Wongsuwan’s large collection of luxury watches. On social media, many have lauded the dropping of yet another lese majeste case against Sulak Sivaraksa. […]

22 01 2018
More on Sulak’s case | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] A couple of readers mention information they think we should have made clearer in our post on Sulak Sivaraksa again foiling a lese majeste charge. […]

22 01 2018
More on Sulak’s case | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] A couple of readers mention information they think we should have made clearer in our post on Sulak Sivaraksa again foiling a lese majeste charge. […]

26 01 2018
Sulak, lese majeste and double standards | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] first is Sulak Sivaraksa, and we have posted on his case, here and here. Sulak has recently been reported as “explaining” his actions on his most […]

26 01 2018
Sulak, lese majeste and double standards | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] first is Sulak Sivaraksa, and we have posted on his case, here and here. Sulak has recently been reported as “explaining” his actions on his most […]