Buddha Issara

Buddha Issara was on accused of lese majeste on 10 April 2017, by Wichai Prasertsutsiri, coordinator of the Centre for the Promotion of Buddhism Foundation. Wichai filed a complaint under Article 112 of the Criminal Code with the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok.

Buddha Issara, an ultra-royalist and a key leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), is a despicable fascist and anti-democrat monk. He has lauded gunmen, acted with thugs, praised the military dictatorship, extorted hotels, accused opponents of lese majeste and been an ardent supporter of the ridiculous law, taken the law into his own hands, and supported vigilantes.

That he’s a detestable person and worse as a monk does not mean that the accusation of lese majeste is any less ridiculous and a case that warrants no legal attention.

The monk is accused of lese majeste over a ritual to bless amulets. Wichai claims that back on on 30 May 2009, the monk performed a ritual to bless amulets engraved with the monograph of the late king before selling them to disciples. Yes, that’s 2009, eight years ago.

The complainant says that the royalist monk used his own blood to bless the amulets. This, apparently, is the cause of the allegation, with Wichai claiming that such action was defamatory of the monarchy since the amulets were engraved with the royal monograph.

Wichai is like many others who lash out at opponents using this feudal law, making up ever more balmy claims about what “defames” a royal.

The detestable monk responded that the ritual was performed to honor the monarchy, adding that Wichai wanted to attack him. We are sure the latter is true, while the former is as balmy as Wichai’s accusation.

Of course, the police accepted the complaint and said they would investigate it. The police are too spineless to tell the accuser to go home and stop being ridiculous.

On 24 May 2018, police raided and then arrested Buddha Issara, defrocked him and kept him in prison as Suwit Thongprasert.

We are not sure how his arrest relates to that of other senior monks, although such reorganizations or “cleaning” of the senior monkhood have previously occurred with a royal succession and/or a new political regime.

The story is that he was arrested for actions by his PDRC group which robbed Special Branch police of guns during their protest on 10 February 2014. It is added that the case also involved the lese majeste charge of using the initials of the late k and the queen. And, strangely, charges of running an ang-yee (an illegal secret organisation). That law has been on the books probably longer than Article 112, and was initially enacted for the control of Chinese “secret societies” during the absolute monarchy.

Yellow shirts were distraught at the monk’s arrest and Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha apologized for the use of excessive forces in the arrest. The now former monk initially agreed to answer the lese majeste charge. Curiously the police have refused to use the lese majeste charge, preferring forgery of the royal initials. While we might applaud that, it does seem like double standards for a previously royalist monk.

The former monk has refused to seek bail.

Media accounts of Buddha Issara’s case:

Bangkok Post, 31 May 2018: “Ex-monk contrite behind bars

Bangkok Post, 27 May 2018: “Srisuwan to petition over Buddha Isara’s arrest

Bangkok Post, 25 May 2018: “Ex-activist monk may answer one charge

Bangkok Post, 25 May 2018: “Senior monks defrocked after raids

Khaosod, 24 May 2018: “Buddha Issara Accused of Royal Forgery

Bangkok Post, 24 May 2018: “Senior monks arrested for embezzlement, robbery

Prachatai, 11 April 2017: “Ultra-royalist monk accused of lèse majesté