POLICE YESTERDAY decided to proceed with the indictment of noted social critic Sulak Sivaraksa for allegedly violating the lese majeste law when he questioned whether King Naresuan’s famous elephant battle during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 16th century actually occurred.
The decision came after almost three years of investigation as the intellectual was brought yesterday to meet prosecutors at the Bangkok Military Court.
Police charged Sulak with lese majeste days after he questioned the historical accuracy of King Naresuan’s heroic elephant battle in an academic seminar on October 5, 2014.
The duel, in which the late King is said have been victorious over Burmese Crown Prince Mingyi Swa, is often regarded in Thai mainstream history as a momentous victory that freed Ayutthaya from Burmese rule.
King Naresuan the Great, recognised as an icon of emancipation, is highly revered by ordinary people and the military. The Thai Armed Forces regard January 18 as Thai Military Day to commemorate the victory, although the story is not related to modern-day military affairs.
Sulak made comments relating to the battle that differed from the mainstream narratives, prompting two Army Lt-Generals to file charges against him with the police for violating lese majeste on October 16, 2014.
The lese majeste law, according to Article 112 of the Penal Code, reads: “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years.”
Sulak was yesterday escorted to military prosecutors, who will have the final say on whether to issue a prosecution order against him. He is due to hear the decision on December 7.