BANGKOK – Col. Winthai Suvaree a spokesperson for the Thai Junta, known formally as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), told a conference of foreign military attaches from 25 countries that lese majeste violations “affect the hearts of many Thai people.” He insisted that prosecuting lese majeste offenders does not constitute a violation of human rights the Khaosod Reported.
Col. Winthai Suvaree explained to the group of foreign dignitaries today that the Kingdom’s lese majeste law is needed to protect the “feelings” of the Thai people.
He continued, “Security officers are not violating human rights, as it has been claimed. There are many suspects, especially those who have fled the country to live abroad, who are trying to distort information and paint it as a political persecution.”
Thailand’s lese majeste law, the strictest of its kind in the world, criminalizes criticism of the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison. Since seizing power in a coup d’etat on 22 May 2014, the ruling junta has rigorously enforced the law to crackdown on perceived “anti-monarchists,” granting martial courts jurisdiction over lese majeste cases. Human rights groups say the law is abused to silence critics and political enemies.
Col. Winthai’s comments came on the heels of a string of recent lese majeste arrests in Thailand. Last week, soldiers arrested a Redshirt activist who allegedly circulated a forged royal statement on social media that said His Majesty the King had appointed a Regent to act on his behalf.
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