Use of social media on lese majeste in Laos followed up

national February 10, 2017 14:00

By The Nation

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The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is following up the use of social media by dissidents in Laos on lese majeste violations, said Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong yesterday.

The ministry is probing whether the names used on the social media accounts are real, and it cannot confirm that those behind the accounts are Thais who have fled the country.

The government will provide an update on the situation next week, Prajin said.

He said Thai security officials had been in contact with their Lao counterparts in a bid to resolve the issue.

The National Security Council (NSC) recently revealed that death threats against Thailand’s top two leaders, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, were made by lese majeste suspects living in living in Laos.

Last week, Prayut ordered the tracking down of those responsible.

NSC secretary-general Thawip Netniyom said the death threats were a result of the government’s plan to request that the Lao government extradite back to the Kingdom Thai dissidents wanted on lese majeste charges.

  Thawip also revealed that he planned to discuss the extradition issue with his Lao counterpart at the Ministry of Public Security when he visited Vientiane in the near future.

The Foreign Ministry contacted Thailand’s embassy in Vientiane and its consulate in Savannakhet province, Laos, and ordered officials to track down the dissidents, a source at the ministry said.

However, the extradition agreement with Laos requires that crimes must not be linked to politics or religion. Authorities will have to determine if Laos has domestic laws for similar offences, the source said.

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