Row festers over website seeking to oust Prem
Police have rejected an appeal to charge activists, who launched a website to collect signatures in a bid to oust Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, for insulting the monarchy, the head of the Special Branch said yesterday.
Pol Lt Gen Theeradech Rodphot-hong said the law on lese majeste did not cover the Privy Council president.
Theeradech said the law on lese majeste aimed to protect only members of the royal family from being insulted. Wrongdoers face possible jail terms from three to 15 years.
Police had looked at the website www.tmctoday.com to check its signature campaign appealing to His Majesty the King to dismiss Prem, but found no message had insulted the royal family, Theera-dech said.
But while the campaign did not violate the law, the appeal was improper, as it could involve His Majesty [in the political conflict], he said. It could cause a rift among the people, which could lead to turbulence, he said.
Theeradech said he wanted the campaigners to stop their move.
Anti-coup campaigners had launched a campaign to attract about 100,000 signatures before submitting them to the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary. They alleged that Prem was the mastermind of the September coup.
Meanwhile, a university lecturer called on the police to take legal action against activists who started the website to collect signatures to try to oust Prem.
Yodsak Kosaiyakanon, a law lecturer of Kasem Bundit University, submitted an appeal to the police, asking for the owner of the website to be punished.
He said the people involved had abused Prem, so the website should be closed within three days.
The lecturer said he acted on behalf of the people of Songkhla, the home province of Prem. He praised the Privy Council president and former prime minister as a model citizen. "The police should close the website and charge the owner, otherwise I will appeal to the interior minister and the Department of Special Investigation," Yodsak said.
Meanwhile, Uthit Choochuey, president of Songkhla municipality, said pro-Prem groups in the South vowed to pressure anti-coup groups wanting to oust Prem until they dropped their campaign.
Uthit said his group and its allies would pressure state agencies to prosecute the anti-coup campaigners because the act insulted the "royal power" and aimed to trigger confrontation between the people.
However, his alliance would not travel to Bangkok, as some interest groups might seek to exploit the goodwill of his group for their power game, he said.