Thailand's lèse majesté law: Treason in cyberspace - battle over the royal family between government and opposition goes online
Posted in: Censorship at 05/07/2009 15:46
On YouTube, he was "thaiman 8", a prolific poster of crude videos that mocked Thailand's royal family. These days Suwicha Thakhor goes by another identity: inmate in Bangkok's Khlong Prem prison. In April he was sentenced to ten years in jail after pleading guilty to lèse majesté, the crime of defaming or threatening the Thai crown. Since 2005 this century-old law has enjoyed a renaissance, netting politicians, scholars, activists and an Australian author. Recently, it seems to have got more coercive.
Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul was arrested in 2008 after a blistering anti-royal public tirade. She went on trial last week and the judge ordered the case to be heard behind closed doors on national-security grounds -- a ruling that would conveniently bar the foreign press. Ms Daranee and her lawyer cried foul. An appeal is pending.