Skip to content

Thai king’s son urges discussion of royal insult law

Thai king's son urges discussion of royal insult law

BANGKOK: A son of Thailand’s monarch has called for open discussion of the Southeast Asian kingdom’s tough laws against insulting the royal family, a sensitive topic that has seen hundreds of people prosecuted in recent years.

Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse, the second son of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, made the comments after visiting an exhibition in New York City highlighting people prosecuted under the strict Thai royal defamation legislation.

The law — often referred to as 112 after the relevant section of the criminal code — shields the king and his immediate family from almost all criticism and can carry heavy jail sentences.

“I attended as a Thai [citizen] who loves and respects the monarchy, but I believe that ‘knowing’ is better than ‘not knowing,'” Vacharaesorn posted in Thai on Facebook. “Everyone should share their opinions based on different experiences.”

Family tree of the royal family of Thailand. AFP INFOGRAPHIC

He wrote that ignoring opinions does not make them disappear.

“Because of that, I believe that listening to them is a good thing,” the 42-year-old wrote.

Critics have long maintained the laws have been weaponized to silence dissent.

Huge protests in 2020 saw thousands urging reform of the laws, a call championed by the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP) that won the most parliamentary seats in May’s national election.

The MFP’s determination to revamp the laws eventually saw it blocked from taking power by conservative pro-royalist forces in parliament.

The “Faces of Victims of 112” show at Columbia University was organized by exiled Thai royal academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun, who confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Vacharaesorn had attended as a guest.

“He is interested in the issue and he said that, despite differences of opinion on this issue, there should be a way that we must communicate,” he said from New York.

Vacharaesorn made an unexpected visit to Thailand in August — his first in nearly two decades — having spent most of his life abroad following his parents’ separation.

His visit came at a sensitive time for the Thai royal family, with the king’s eldest daughter Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol still in the hospital after collapsing and losing consciousness last December.

The palace did not comment on the visit.

The king, who has seven children from four marriages, has not formally named an heir, although Thai succession rules favor sons.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Magazine, and enjoy exclusive fresh news 24/7