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Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Noose is tightening around Jakrapob
May 20, 2008
Jakrapob Penkair, the bisieged prime minister's office minister, is probably busying himself with translating into Thai language the long speech he gave to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand last August shortly after he was released on bail from jail for involvement in a violent street protest in front of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda's residence.Â
The firebrand politician who is facing allegation of making public remarks deemed offending to the Monarchy hopes to finish his translation and to have it made available to the public this Thursday in a desperate bid to clear himself of the allegation.Â But I wonder whether he will be able to clear himself?Â Or whether he will plunge deeper into troubles?
Jakrapob appears to be fighting a lonely battle to save his neck.Â There seems to be no one else in his People Power party where he can go to to get help.Â Which explains why he has to seek the counselling of former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh whose words seem to be ignored even by his former followers.Â I wonder how General Chavalit will be able to come to Jakrapob's rescue as the issue at stake appears to be beyond control.
The offence regarding lese majestie or anything close to it is different from the other criminal offences in a way that the principal component deemed as lese majestie or offending to the Monarchy such as a statement or a remark cannot be repeated in public without the risk of the alleged offender facing an additional charge of lese majestie.Â Exception is that the statement is stated in the court with the proceedings being held in camera.Â That probably explains why the Democrats who raised this issue against Jakrapob did not make public the Jakrapob's speech in English or the translated version so as not to risk themselves with possible litigation.
So how can Jakrapob clarify himself without going into some details of his controversial speech, either in Thai or English?Â If he goes ahead with disseminating his translated version of his speech, he will definitely risk commiting the second blunder - this time in his capacity as a minister not just a firebrand politician as he was when he first made the speech last August.Â In which case, the noose of the rope around his neck will become more tightening.
My sympathy for him as he appears to be caught in a lose-lose situation.Â For his own good and that of the government, I suggest that heÂ abandons his plan to distribute his Thai-language speech to the public and to resign.Â And if he wants to defend himself, he should do so in court.Â There is plenty of time for him to prepare himself as, you should know,Â who are in charge of the police.Â The case drags onÂ for months before it is presented before the court unless the police feel the heat to speed up the investigation.
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