Lawmakers back Section 112

Lawmakers back Section 112

Lese majeste 'needed to protect' monarch

Pareena Kraikupt flanked by royalists speaks to journalists near the UN building in Bangkok on Friday. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)
Pareena Kraikupt flanked by royalists speaks to journalists near the UN building in Bangkok on Friday. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)

Senator and MPs have voiced support for the lese majeste law after a pro-democracy group called on the UN to stop the government prosecuting protest leaders for insulting the monarchy.

Senator Chadej Insawang, in his capacity as deputy chairman of a committee on the protection of the royal institution, said its members will meet on Dec 18 to discuss the pro-democracy protesters' call for the revocation of Section 112, otherwise known as the lese majeste law.

There are laws similar to Section 112 in all countries including the UK, Mr Chadej claimed. Regarding the protesters' petition lodged with the UN on the revocation of the law, the senator accused the protesters of simply wanting to put pressure on the government.

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a leader of the 24 June Democracy Restoration group, on Thursday submitted a petition to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), asking for it to help stop the prosecution of pro-democracy protesters under Section 112.

Tanee Sangrat, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, said the OHCHR usually accepts petitions from all groups. The OHCHR already keeps tabs on human rights issues in Thailand as well as the enforcement of Section 112, he said.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said his party did not agree with changing the country's political system to a republic or communist state. The party has a clear stance to only support a constitutional monarchy, he said.

Asked about the revocation of Section 112, Mr Jurin said every country has laws to protect its leader, and Section 112 is a law Thailand uses to protect the monarchy.

Pareena Kraikupt, Ratchaburi MP from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, meanwhile, submitted a letter to the UN to clarify Section 112. She was accompanied by a group of yellow-clad people holding up placards that read "Save 112" and "Stop threatening the life of the King".

Ms Pareena also criticised the protesters' call for UN intervention by offering a case in Morocco as an example where a person was sentenced to four years in jail for insulting its monarchy.

Also, the pro-monarchy hashtag #banoanuchit began trending yesterday after local actor O Anuchit tweeted his support for the use of Section 112 to punish violators. The hashtag was used by Twitter users at least 30,000 times.

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