Tue, 10 Apr 2007 12:43
(XFN-ASIA) – Thailand’s Office of the Attorney General dropped charges
of insulting the monarch against ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, but
chided him for his ‘impolite’ comments.The
former Thai prime minister, deposed in a coup last September, was
facing three charges of lese majeste — insulting the monarchy —
stemming from comments he made during last year’s political upheaval.‘All
three lese majeste charges against ex-prime minister Thaksin were
dropped on the grounds that he had no intention of harming the
monarchy,’ said Surmkiat Woradit, director general of the department of
we do say that his comments were not appropriate, were impolite, and
risked stirring public division, and he should have not mentioned the
monarchy,’ he added.Police
had recommended the attorney general charge Thaksin on three counts of
lese majeste — which carries a 15-year jail term — for three separate
incidents during protests against him.The first was a comment Thaksin made on December 25, 2005 to a gathering of taxi drivers. That remark was never made public.Then
on February 4, 2006, Thanksin made a remark about Thailand’s revered
79-year-old king on his weekly radio show. Although that comment was
widely reported at the time, the attorney general on Tuesday said the
media could not repeat it.The
final charge related to an incident on March 16 last year, when Thaksin
was greeted by supporters waving royal flags. The accusation was that
the crowd had been hired to wave the flags.Surmkiat said the Office of the Attorney General dropped all charges because of a lack of evidence.
Thaksin charges dropped
By Amy Kazmin in Bangkok
Published: April 10 2007 19:35
prosecutors have decided not to pursue Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted
prime minister, for the crime of offending the country’s revered king,
further undermining the military’s rationale for September’s coup
Although Thai police recommended that Mr Thaksin be prosecuted for three counts of lèse-majesté, the attorney-general’s office on Tuesday said the cases did not merit formal legal action.
Sermkiat Woradit, director of criminal prosecution, said some of Mr
Thaksin’s public statements about King Bhumibol Adulyadej were
“inappropriate”, but could not be constituted as defamatory in legal
Lèse-majesté, or offending the dignity of the royal family, is a serious crime in Thailand, punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment.
decision not to prosecute Mr Thaksin is a setback for the credibility
of the military leaders, who cited the then-premier’s alleged
disrespect of the monarch as one of four reasons for seizing power in
Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a Chulalongkorn University
political science professor, said of the case: “If they can’t get [Mr
Thaksin] on lèse-majesté, they will have a hard time getting
him on other charges. If anyone talks about his return or comeback, his
exoneration on this charge makes it much more viable.”
Noppadol Pattama, a legal adviser to Mr Thaksin now in exile in London, welcomed the decision, saying: “Justice has been done”.
Phagaphasvivat, a Thammasat University political science professor,
said prosecutors could have been influenced by concern over small but
growing anti-coup protests, targeting Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, president
of the king’s privy council, for his alleged role in fomenting the coup.
controversy over Gen Prem has clearly alarmed military leaders, who
have sought to quash the debate over his involvement, apparently out of
concern for repercussions on the palace.
Investigators are still struggling to prepare a formal case
against Mr Thaksin for alleged corruption, focusing in particular on a
controversial land acquisition by his wife.
Thai prosecutors clear Thaksin of insulting king
BANGKOK – Thai prosecutors dropped three lese majeste charges on
Tuesday against ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra that could
have put him in jail for 45 years, officials said.
Police are still investigating a fourth royal insult allegation
against Thaksin, but prosecutors said the three cases forwarded to them
last month did not merit formal legal action.
Sermkiat Woradit, director of criminal prosecution, told reporters that
some of Thaksin’s comments were ‘inappropriate’, but in legal terms
could not constituted as defaming the king.
The three cases in which Thaksin was accused of offending revered
King Bhumibol Adulyadej stemmed from remarks to a group of taxi
drivers, his weekly national radio address and his supporters waving
Thai flags saying ‘Long Live His Majesty’.
Lese majeste, or insulting the monarchy, is a serious crime in
Thailand, where it carries a jail term of between three and 15 years.
However, the law is extremely vague and almost anyone can level
an accusation of lese majeste, triggering a police investigation,
allowing political opponents to accuse each other of offending the
Last year, Thaksin and his enemies hurled scores of lese
majeste accusations at each other. The army gave alleged disrespect to
the monarchy as one of its reasons for ousting Thaksin in its Sept. 19
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