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US Citizen Visiting Thailand Arrested For Blog Posting 456

societyofrobots writes "A US citizen, upon visiting Thailand for medical treatment, was arrested for lese majeste (insulting the king) and computer crimes ('entering false information into a computer system'). He is charged for posting a link on his blog to a banned book, The King Never Smiles, and for translating excerpts of it. He made the posting four years ago in 2007, while in the US. Trials for lese majeste are traditionally held in secret, for reasons of 'national security'. AFP has more information."
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US Citizen Visiting Thailand Arrested For Blog Posting

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  • Re:"lese majeste" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 29, 2011 @05:54PM (#36282046)

    Even the king himself has been censored under these rules. He gave his blessing to a biography that was later banned for insulting the king.

    He's also against these rules and has sworn to pardon anyone tried under these rules, so we can at least hope the US guy gets off scot-free.

  • Re:"lese majeste" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sortius_nod ( 1080919 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @06:00PM (#36282100) Homepage

    The problem with Thailand is that the king himself has spoken out about the use of les majeste against the population, but the political parties ignore him. The king claimed (before he became as ill as he is now) that anyone can comment on the family, just not be abusive about it.

    There's a bigger problem brewing though. When the king dies, which won't be far off judging by his health, the crown prince will take over. This guy is an idiot, thinks he's some sort of playboy. He is the total opposite of what a Thai royal should be, so there will be a lot of anger against the crown. The only thing that keeps Thailand together at this stage is the current king, so it will be interesting where this goes.

    As for this American guy, well, he shouldn't have gone to Thailand if he's going to be linking banned books and posting excerpts. There's enough information on how Thailand's authorities view both the book and it's claims. Feeling sorry for him is like feeling sorry for the drug smugglers in a Bali prison, they knew the laws of the country, and if not, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

  • Re:"lese majeste" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @06:15PM (#36282190) Journal
    While I agree about avoiding travel to shithole jurisdictions whose laws I'm on the wrong side of, I have to wonder whether this guy has some backstory that made him more interesting to the locals.

    Unless the Thai authorities are way ahead of the game, they must have about a zillion other cases that they could be taking an interest in(or local troublemakers they feel like beating down, it isn't stability city over there), rather than some random Yank who said something mean four years ago, and (seeing as he went there for treatment) will either be leaving when recovered or going out the back door, depending on what he is being treated for. He seems like a low-priority case.

    Is this just a matter of some google-using authoritarian jackoff justifying his job by bring cases, no matter how cold and irrelevant, or is the american in question of interest for some other reason(suspected enthusiasm for underage ladyboys, dubiously ethical business dealings, meddling in local revolutionary politics, or something) and this is just the easiest way to bring him in?
  • Re:"lese majeste" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 29, 2011 @06:15PM (#36282194)

    The problem with Thailand is that the king himself has spoken out about the use of les majeste against the population, but the political parties ignore him. The king claimed (before he became as ill as he is now) that anyone can comment on the family, just not be abusive about it.

    Don't be so fucking naive.

    The political parties doesn't ignore him. He's not the Queen of England and he has a traditional influence in Thai politics and has interfered in public life since he's come to power. The lese majeste laws are useful to him, so he keeps it around. He just pardons expats or minor abuses so he can pose as a nice guy. When it's useful, you're fucking going to be judged in secret and then will be DEAD.

    King Bhumibol Adulyadej is an ASSHOLE. Let's put the truth out there!

    Bhumibol ascended the throne following the death by gun-shot wound of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, on 9 June 1946 in mysterious circumstances, prompting suggestions that Bhumibol had been involved in or responsible for his death.

    That evening, Sarit Dhanarajata seized power, and two hours later Bhumibol imposed martial law throughout the Kingdom.[33] Bhumibol issued a Royal Command appointing Sarit as "Military Defender of the Capital" without anyone countersigning this Royal Command.

    Bhumibol retains enormous powers, partly because of his immense popularity and partly because his powers - although clearly defined in the Thai constitution - are often subject to conflicting interpretations. This was highlighted by the controversy surrounding the appointment of Jaruvan Maintaka as Auditor-General. Jaruvavn had been appointed by The State Audit Commission. However, the Constitutional Court ruled in July 2004 that her appointment was unconstitutional. Jaruvan refused to vacate her office without an explicit order from Bhumibol, on the grounds that she had previously been royally approved. When the Senate elected a replacement for Jaruvan, Bhumibol refused to approve him.[75] The Senate declined to vote to override Bhumibol's veto.[76] Finally in February 2006 the Audit Commission reinstated Jaruvan when it became clear from a memo from the Office of the King's Principal Private Secretary that King Bhumibol supported her appointment.

    He's the effective ruler of Thailand, he plays around with the military coups to keep his power (Thailand has a military coup every other day) and he likes the fucking lese majeste laws.

    Stop with this the King is a nice guy propaganda bullshit. The Thai might like to have a dictator in power and that's their problem but he's not a powerless king that loves his people. He's a politician like every other.

  • Julian Assange will be watching this case with interest, and would be amused at all the "how dare they, he's a citizen of a free country" posts.
  • Re:"lese majeste" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @07:19PM (#36282578)

    America has one of these. It let's the president claim _anyone_ including a citizen is an enemy combatant and whisk them away to gitmo without representation or a trial or any other rights granted to a citizen.

  • Re:Obey local laws (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zill ( 1690130 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @07:38PM (#36282674)

    Since he chose to remain a citizen of Thailand, all the laws of Thailand still applies to him, regardless of where he resides. That's the burden of dual citizenship. If you chose to swear allegiance to two countries, then you must abide by the laws of both.

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"