Piling on lese majeste cases

14 02 2018

Usually the military dictatorship just piles up lese majeste cases at a rate of one to two a week since 2014. However, in the case of singer and red-shirt Tom Dundee (Thanat Thanawatcharanon), the regime is piling case up against him.

The 60 year old activist is already in jail for more than 10 years on two lese majeste “convictions,” but the regime seems determined to bury him under cases and to keep sending the message to those inclined to republicanism to keep very quiet or risk charges, more-or-less mandatory conviction and jail.

Following his conviction, in early 2018, another charges was laid. Now, on 13 February 2018, the Bangkok Criminal Court summoned Tom from prison to be indicted on a fourth lese majeste charge. This charge relates to “a speech at a red-shirt rally in 2011 in Lamphun Province.”

Yes, that’s 2011. It is not a typo.

This latest charge against Tom suggests how desperate the regime and palace are in stamping out republicanism.

The activist has agreed to plead guilty to a charge that he compared “Thailand with Denmark, where the King has to stop at traffic lights.”

Yes, that’s commenting on kings and traffic lights. The prosecutor claimed this comparison was illegal because Tom’s words “can be understood to be referring to King Rama IX, and makes ordinary people have negative thoughts against the monarchy…”.

There’s a couple of things to note here. First, it seems Tom did not mention any royal by name. Second, it seems the prosecutor knows that Thais understand that the comment is about their then king because stopping traffic for all levels of royal in Thailand is common and commonly hated. In such circumstances, it seems the prosecutor is also “defaming” the monarchy by drawing this conclusion. And, third, discussion of delays associated with tiresome, polluting and expensive royal cavalcades has been public for many years. Back in 2012, efforts were made to “improve” the situation. (We doubt the current obsessive-compulsive king would want other than to make the cavalcades more intrusive and wasteful. That’s his style.)

All of this makes the fourth case against Tom simply mindless vengefulness on the part of the royalist military regime.

Tom apparently “agreed” to plead guilty after previously denying all accusations and fighting his cases because he knows that defending the cases means longer jail terms. He now “wants the prosecution to end as soon as possible,” and hopes to seek a pardon.


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29 03 2018
Tom Dundee beats one lese majeste charge | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] over the comparison he made between Thailand and Denmark and traffic control related to monarchs. As we have said before, this discussion of the stopping of traffic for royals in Thailand has been official and […]

29 03 2018
Tom Dundee beats one lese majeste charge | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] over the comparison he made between Thailand and Denmark and traffic control related to monarchs. As we have said before, this discussion of the stopping of traffic for royals in Thailand has been official and […]