Thailand’s opposition ‘Move Forward’ party challenges lese-majeste law in parliament

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Move Forward Party Leader, Pita Limjaroenrat said on Thursday the proposed changes will ensure the monarchy is well respected; place the institution above criticism, and prevent any person from claiming loyalty to prosecute dissidents.

BANGKOK – The opposition Move Forward Party on Thursday proposed to the House amendments to five laws related to freedom of expression, including an amendment to the lese-majeste charge in the criminal code.



The party’s proposals include changes to the Computer Crime Act, the Act Amending the Civil Procedure Code, and the Act Amending the Criminal Code; specifically penalties for government officials, and lese-majeste charges. These proposed changes have been submitted to an assistant to the House Speaker, Dr Sukit Atthopakorn.



Move Forward Party Leader, Pita Limjaroenrat said on Thursday the proposed changes will ensure the monarchy is well respected; place the institution above criticism, and prevent any person from claiming loyalty to prosecute dissidents.



He said previous cases show there are still issues when enforcing laws that affect the people’s rights and liberties according to modern democratic principles, as well as the use of the law as a political weapon. He insisted that the party’s intention is to remove the monarchy from politics, not change the form of government.

Mr Pita said the party’s move may not coincide with other groups who want to abolish the lese-majeste law entirely. He said his party is pursuing a path to compromise that should be more widely accepted.



Meanwhile, royalist group Thai Pakdee led by former Democrat Party MP Dr Warong Dechgitvigrom has submitted a list of 101,568 persons opposing amendments to Article 112 lese majeste law.



The group says the law does not affect the freedom of expression of all people, and makes no significant difference to other laws protecting the Head of State, as implemented by many countries. (NNT)