Academics petition Speaker on lese majeste law change
The Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112 is set to forward a petition to House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont to review his decision rejecting the 112 amendment drafted by the committee.The group led by Assoc Prof Yuktimukda Wichit, a lecturer at Thammasat University, called a press conference saying they had petitioned Somsak on Friday citing several reasons to support their amendment to Article 112.
Somsak in October last year rejected the draft amendment on the grounds the group had no constitutional right to table the amendment draft because Article 112 - which involves lese majeste offences - was not a Constitutional law.
Yuktimukda cited that Article 112 was under chapter 3 of the Criminal Code, featuring the rights and freedom of Thai citizens. She said Article 112 is enforced to limit the rights and freedom of expression, and punishment under the law is 15 years maximum, which also adversely affects the rights and liberty of the individual.
She said the severity of the punishment was inappropriate judging the seriousness of lese majeste offences. Those charged with lese majeste have less chance to be released on bail. The law is also used as a political harassment tool but not to protect the monarchy institution.
She dismissed Somsak's reason for his rejection that the amendment to the Article would lead to more insults and violation against the monarchy because people would be allowed to do so freely. She said the purpose of the amendment was to protect the monarchy so that the institution could continue to exist under democratic principles.
She said her group believed Somsak's decision to reject the draft was in violation of Article 30 of the Administrative Procedures 1996.
Wad Rawi, a representative of the committee said if the House Speaker persisted with his earlier decision, he must abide by Article 30 of the Administrative Procedures 1996 by allowing his group to debate the topic.
The petition of the committee was signed by six academics including Dr Charnwit Kasetsiri, Dr Nithi Iewsriwong, Dr Puangthong Pawakkapan, Dr Worajet Pakeerat, Dr Yukti Mukdawichit and Rawi Siriissaranont (Wad Rawi.)