THAILAND: Tragic TEXT-book Case of Repression — and Death

Previously ASIA MEDIA highlighted an article about Thailand’s lese majeste law and its oppressive reach over media systems such as social networking sites like Facebook or text messaging. Recently, Amphon “Akong” Tangnoppakul died while serving a 20-year sentence for allegedly sending text messages “deemed defamatory to the Queen.” He was 62 with four children and an extended family and died of a pre-existing condition. As a result of his conviction, he became widely known as Uncle SMS.
This outrage prompted members of the Activists for Democracy Network, accompanied by relatives of other political prisoners, to gather on May 15 at Thailand’s covenant Government House located in Bangkok. Their cries demanded the release of prisoners, improve conditions in jail, provide proper heath care for ailing prisoners, and amending the lese majeste laws.
Activists for Democracy Network joined the Nitirat Group and the Truth for Reconciliation in calling for changes to Article 112 of the lese majeste law. Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidt replied stating that the government would consider the requests; however the government has already said they would not touch the lese majeste laws.They are indeed considered totally untouchable, which is a tragedy: Whenever even an average citizens inadvertently brushes against them, it can be a brush with death itself. It’s absurd.

By Brian Canave, Asia Media staff


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