S. Sivaraksa

RE: Dropping the charge of lese majeste against Sulak Sivaraksa
December 4, 2006, 6:28 am
Filed under: Human Rights, Siamese History, Thai Politics


6 November 2006

Dear Prime Minister,

Concerning the case of Sulak Sivaraksa, who is charged with lese majeste pertaining to his interview published in the magazine Fah Diew Kan, Bangsue Police Station’s inquiry officials, headed by deputy police chief Pol. Gen. Priewphan Damaphong, are in the process of further inquiring the alleged offender’s witnesses.

As the accused, I want to point out that the witnesses’ statements expressed during the inquiry process may impact every side and that the charge of lese majeste has been abused to reap political ends. Concerning the latter point, I faced the charge of lese majeste in August 2006 because I had criticized the administration of the Thaksin Shinawatra government. My interview in Fah Diew Kan was published since October 2005, and this issue of the magazine had been in circulation for a considerable time. The interview was also translated into the foreign languages, and likewise was circulated in intellectual circles worldwide. I affirm that the views I expressed there concerning the monarchy are academic and sincere. I wanted to protect the monarchy from being exploited as a political tool by numerous groups, and wanted to point out the threats (symbolic as well as concrete) undermining the monarchy. For this I was accused of lese majeste. The complainant did not carefully examine the whole interview, for it is clear that if the interview was fully read my intention to academically analyze the facts in order to protect the monarchy could not have been missed. Most importantly, in the royal speech delivered on 4 December 2005 H.M. the King expresses his desire to terminate the charge of lese majeste. In one part of the royal speech, the king states,

If the king is violated, the king himself is in trouble….in trouble in many ways. One, foreigners say in Thailand one can’t criticize the king, that if they can’t criticize and go to jail. There are some who go to jail, which troubles the king, who must say, after the jailing, to forgive them for insulting me severely. Farangs say in Thailand, when the king gets insulted, [the offender] must go to jail.

Indeed, they should go to jail. But because the farangs say so, [we] won’t let them go to jail. Nobody dares put the guy who insults the king in jail, because the king is troubled. They say the king is a bad person , or at least easily excitable. When someone criticizes [him] a little, [he] says to put them in jail. In fact, the king’s never said to put them in jail. In previous reigns, rebels were not even jailed…not punished. King Rama VI did not punish, did not punish the rebels. In the Ninth Reign, rebels…are treated in the same way…not put to jail. [They are] released or are first imprisoned but then released.

Seen in its entirety, the royal speech shows that the king does not want to institute actions against those charged with lese majeste. In my case, since Pol. Gen. Priewphan Damaphong, the head of the inquiry panel, is a relative of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra the dice is already loaded. Moreover, in the eyes of the international community, the reputation of the kingdom in terms of human rights will be severely impacted because the case was instituted under the former government, which greatly limited academic freedom or the freedom of expression in general. International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch will surely protest against the case and publicize it worldwide. Therefore, should this case drag on indeterminably, the masses may be incited and mobilized (both supporting and protesting against the case), leading to hostility, social antagonism, and even violence, thereby jeopardizing the peace, orderliness, and security of the country.

Therefore, I write to ask you to find a way to end the case at the level of inquiry officials by terminating the inquiry process or ordering the discontinuation of the prosecution of case ป . วิ อาญา ม. ๑๔๒ . Relevant officials should inform the inquiry officials to drop this politically charged and spiteful case, a case that will adversely impact the monarchy. The charge of lese majeste must no longer be used as a tool to silence or destroy political opponents.

Furthermore, the country now requires a favorable climate for reconciliation. Carrying on with the case will surely be detrimental to society at large.


Yours sincerely,
Sulak Sivaraksa
(The alleged offender)

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