Thaksin Shinawatra

thaksin_interviewThe first lese majeste report associated with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra / ทักษิณ ชินวัตร was from a report on 15 May 2009 that stated that lese majeste charges likely to be laid against him. Police officials said that Thaksin would be “recommended for indictment” because of what are said to be “offensive comments about the monarchy” during the events that led to the Songkran Uprising in April 2009 and immediately after.

Special Branch commissioner Lt General Theeradet Rodphothong stated that the “police report has drawn the conclusion that Thaksin has committed lese majeste as per Article 112 of the Criminal Code…”. The policeman added that “Thaksin made numerous disrespectful references to the royal institution in his interviews to the foreign press describing the riots by the red-shirt crowd.”

The Nation reports that the “investigation report is expected to be submitted for final review by police headquarters before forwarding to the Attorney-General’s Office.”

In early November 2009, Thaksin was again been accused of lese majeste following an interview with The Times. The Democrat Party-led government is reportedly investigating. For more on this see here. A group of self-proclaimed nationalists and Thaksin opponents laid complaints with the police.

In February 2011, Democrat MP Watchara Petthong filed lese majeste complaints against Thaksin, Robert Amsterdam and Thanapol Eawsakul (as editor of the Same Sky/Fa diew kan) for the publication of the Thai version of the White Paper by Amsterdam & Preoff on the violence of April and May 2010. The book has been a best seller, and was the initial case taken to the International Criminal Court by red shirts seeking redress for the violence.

Thaksin apparently holds the record for the number of lese majeste cases, at four. The first is คดีพิเศษที่ 101/53 กล่าวหา พ.ต.ท.ทักษิณ ชินวัตร กับพวก (Special Case 101/53 for Thaksin and “his group”). Another case was opened against Thaksin (Special Case / คดีพิเศษที่ 43/54) which apparently related to the story in The Times. The third case is Special Case / คดีพิเศษที่ 44/54 relates to a video link to a UDD rally in Chiang Mai, where Thaksin is alleged to have made insulting or libelous comments against the king. Finally, Thaksin’s fourth case is Special Case / คดีพิเศษ 118/53 for an interview considered to contain lese majeste content.

A further case was reported in May 2015, following an interview in South Korea on which PPT has a full report. Thaksin commented on the links between military and privy council in orchestrating the 2014 military coup. He stated that:

The military listened to the Privy Councilors…. When they didn’t want us to stay anymore, they made Suthep [Thaugsuban, leader of anti-government protests] come out, and then had the military help him. Some people from the palace circle also provided help, which made us powerless.

The result was that his passport was revoked and a lese majeste investigation began.

On 29 May 2015, the Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr filed a lese majeste charge against Thaksin as part of a raft of actions designed to punish Thaksin for his comments.

Little more was heard regarding this latter case until, seemingly out of the blue, and as the military dictatorship campaigned for an “election,” a brand new attorney general declared that he wanted to get Thaksin on this charge. Thaksin had been tweeting a little following Yingluck Shinawatra’s “flight”/”disappearance” in late August 2017, and the lese majeste charge being nudged on seems an attempt to gain Thaksin’s silence.

Public prosecutors were said to have decided to indict Thaksin and vowed to revive pending criminal cases against him under a new organic law that allows for the trials of fugitive politicians to be held in absentia.

Thaksin denied that he has ever defamed the royal family. He threatened to sue anyone who accuses him of lese majeste. He took to Twitter to state that he was “emotionally troubled” by reports that the new attorney general had vowed to prosecute him for the crime. He condemned the use of lese majeste against him.

Background on the Thaksin cases:

There is too much background regarding Thaksin and Thailand’s politics for PPT to be able to record it all here. Thaksin is arguably the most controversial and most popular politician Thailand has had in the modern era. For a flavor, see PPT’s commentaries pages, the BBC profile and the Wikipedia entry on Thaksin.

Media reports:

There are many reports. Here PPT lists just a few.

Khaosod, 10 October 2017: “Thaksin Denies Insulting Monarchy, Threatens to Sue

Bangkok Post, 7 October 2017: “Thaksin faces lese majeste peril

Khaosod, 29 May 2015: “Thai Army Chief Files Lese Majeste Against Thaksin

AFP, 27 May 2015: “Thai ex-PM Thaksin under investigation for lese majeste

AP, 27 May 2015: “Thailand Revokes Passports of Ousted Premier Thaksin

Prachatai, 22 February 2011: Lèse majesté charges filed against Robert Amsterdam’s book”

Matichon, 3 January 2011: “เปิดบัญชีคดีพิเศษ”ดีเอสไอ” 33 คดีเข้าข่ายหมิ่นเบื้องสูง

ABC News, 11 November 2009: “Thaksin faces fresh lese majeste charges”

Bangkok Post, 10 November 2009: “Lese majeste complaint against Thaksin”

The Nation, 15 May 2009: “Thaksin to be indicted”

12 responses

9 11 2009
Further updated: Thaksin on the shining age after the king’s death « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] of Justice to decide whether Thaksin has committed lese majeste (not for the first time, see here): “The foreign minister said he found many of Thaksin’s comments in the interview to be […]

10 11 2009
New: Lese majeste charges flow fast and furious « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] has updated our pages on the lese majeste allegations against Thaksin and Giles, and we have added a page for Parry. PPT is having difficulty keeping up with all of the […]

22 02 2011
The missing headline: Lese majeste | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] remains unclear why Thanapol is included as he is not listed as the publisher of the book. Both Thaksin and Thanapol have faced earlier charges related to lese […]

23 04 2012
13 10 2012
Lese majeste cases updated « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Thaksin Shinawatra […]

13 10 2012
Lese majeste cases updated « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Thaksin Shinawatra […]

5 12 2012
Lese majeste not forgotten « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Thaksin Shinawatra […]

5 12 2012
Lese majeste not forgotten « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Promsorn, Somsak Jeamteerasakul, Somyos Pruksakasemsuk, Suporn Atthawong, Suraphot Thawisak, Thaksin Shinawatra, Thanapol Bamrungsri, Thanapol Eawsakul, Thiranan Vipuchanun, Khatha Pachachirayapong, Somjet […]

27 05 2015
Passports revoked, lese majeste invoked | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Thaksin already has several outstanding claims of lese majeste against him, dating back to 2009. It seems he has at least four lese majeste charges outstsnding, and if this accusation becomes a charge, that will be five. That could amount to 60 or more years jail if he ever returned to face the biased and deeply royalist courts. […]

27 05 2015
Passports revoked, lese majeste invoked | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Thaksin already has several outstanding claims of lese majeste against him, dating back to 2009. It seems he has at least four lese majeste charges outstsnding, and if this accusation becomes a charge, that will be five. That could amount to 60 or more years jail if he ever returned to face the biased and deeply royalist courts. […]

10 10 2017
Thaksin denies lese majeste | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] when the military dictatorship reactivated a lese majeste accusation against Thaksin (one of many such charges and allegations), the yellow-hued royalists again clapped and cheered the military […]

10 10 2017
Thaksin denies lese majeste | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] when the military dictatorship reactivated a lese majeste accusation against Thaksin (one of many such charges and allegations), the yellow-hued royalists again clapped and cheered the military […]