Press Releases : Comments on News Release Issued by OHCHR on the Prosecutions Under the Lèse-majesté Law

With regard to the news release issued by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression voicing concerns over the use of the lèse-majesté law, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to clarify as follows:

  1. The Thai monarchy has always been a pillar of stability in Thailand. The Thai sense of identity is closely linked to the monarchy, an institution that dates back over 700 years. The institution, to this day, continues to play a unifying role and symbolizes the unity of the Thai communities. Enacting appropriate legislation to protect the highly revered institution is a common practice in Thailand as in other nations.
  2. The lèse-majesté law is part of Thailand’s Criminal Code that gives protection to the rights or reputations of Their Majesties the King and Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent in a similar manner that libel law does for commoners to uphold national security and public order. It is not aimed at curbing people’s rights to freedom of expression. Similar protection is provided for the King, Queen and Heir-apparent of other States as well as official representatives thereof as enshrined in article 133 - 134 of Thailand's Criminal Code. Cases proceeded under the lèse-majesté law are in no way politically motivated.
  3. While Thailand supports and values freedom of expression, these rights are not absolute and shall be exercised within the boundary of the law in a manner that does not disrupt public order and social harmony or infringe upon others’ rights or reputations, as stipulated in Article 19 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Hence, the application of the lèse-majesté law is not incompatible with international human rights law. 
  4. As with other criminal offences, proceedings on lèse-majesté cases are conducted in accordance with due legal process. Those convicted for lèse-majesté are entitled to the same rights as those convicted for other criminal offences, including the right to file an appeal and the right to seek royal pardon. 
  5. Regarding the legal proceedings against Mr. Jatupat Boonpattararaksa who has been charged under the lèse-majesté law and the Computer Crimes Act, the case is being independently deliberated by the Court of Justice. The government is not in a position to intervene in the proceedings while the judiciary exercises its power in accordance with the law. The accused’s bail was granted on 23 December 2016 and was later revoked as he was repeating his offense, thereby violating his bail conditions.