Dear President Donald Trump:
We are Thai-Americans of some 350,000 strong. We have learned with dismay that you have invited Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Thai dictator who seized power from a democratically elected PM Yingluck Shinawatra last May 2014.
We understand Gen. Prayuth will visit the White House by the end of next month.
Please raise this very important issue with him which is the root cause of all of Thailand’s problems and their very slow democratic process. That is their despicable Article 112 of their Criminal Code which prohibits people from making any comments or constructive criticism of the Thai king, even if such comments are based on the truth.
This unjust law also separates loved ones for a long period of time. Once charged with this law, 99% will be convicted by the Thai court. The trial is often a closed court session with no media allowed. Alleged prisoners of Article 112 will be sent to Thai jail from 3 to 15 years for each offense. Hundreds, if not thousands, are now in jails throughout Thailand.
Anyone can file the lese majeste charge against anyone and the police are required to investigate and often complete the process all the way to the court. Failure to do so will have serious repercussion to the investigating officers.
Even though the late King Bhumibol said in his speech in 2005 that he disagreed with this law, but no one has not done a thing to abolish it either.
This very uncivilized and unjust law gives the Thai monarchy unlimited power to do anything for their own interest and prosperity! The king’s investment arms of Crown Property Bureau (CPB) is the largest owner of all the prime property in Bangkok and the major shareholder of the Stock Exchange of Thailand! The Monarchy is the richest entity in the world by Forbes magazine 6 years in a row. At the same time, Thai children are still begging or selling garlands in the streets of Bangkok. Poor families are forced to sell their daughters for prostitution. Slave wages are the norm in most factories. Intelligent Thai men and women have to flee the country for commenting the Monarchy ina negative tone.
No one can question how CPB become so rich and powerful. No one can question its books and whether or not CPB pays any taxes. This is off to the public. The royals or royals’ lapdogs claim the wealth and its assets belong to the people. But we have not seen any monetary contributions to help the poor coming from this CPB during the past 50 years!
Because of this law, Thailand has, so far, 19 coup d’ etat’s including the recent one! Thai king endorses and approves all the coups and then pardon the coup makers!
Even all the past prime ministers of Thailand did not dare to question the suitability and viability of this law!
Most politicians, academics, critics and foreign journalists all ignore this subject for fear of going to jail because of the evil nature of Article 112! Any suggestion or slight hint of revising the law would certainly be subject to lese majeste charge!
Thai people are held hostages by this evil law!
United States must lead in calling for the abolishment of this very unjust law.
This is the 21st Century and Thailand must face the reality of the world and the transparency of the Internet. Thai people are now very well-informed and that democracy is the key to Thailand’s progress. People are yearning for opportunities and equality for their children’s future. Poor Thais should have the same hope for their children’s future as the elite’s. With this crazy law over their head, people are tongue tied and simply can’t do anything!
This law is not an internal affair of Thailand. It is the affair of the world and every citizen of the world is obligated to tell Gen. Prayuth that enough is enough! This is a deliberate genocide of by design by the royalist conservatives.
I have received hundreds of emails each day telling me that I am now the voice of the oppressed living in Thailand and that I should continue my fight for a true democracy.
It pains me to see so many poor children and young girls being abused in factories or massage parlors. These are people who need helps but have nowhere to turn.
Please ask him if he has any objectives and viable plans in helping the poor children of Thailand.
Such are important issues which should be discussed, not just trades alone!
I’d rather die than live the life of lies, fear of Article 112 and deceit!
– Narisara Viwatchara