Some 224 international scholars back Campaign 112
A group of 224 international scholars on Wednesday released an open letter supporting the proposed amendment to the lese majeste law and rallying behind the Nitirat acaemic group for spearheading the reform on Article 112 of the Criminal Code.
The letter was addressed and sent to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, calling for her intervention to ensure a speedy legislative change.
Co-signatories of the letter include Ben Kiernan from Yale University, Paul Handley of the banned book "The King Never Smiles", Noam Chomsky of the Massachusettes Institute of Technology and Kevin Hewison of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
The scholars are from 16 countries, including those from the Australian National University and the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Thai and Thai-based scholars include Giles Ungphakorn and Chris Baker.
In the letter, the scholars voiced concern about Article 112 becoming "a powerful tool to silence political dissent, and in particular, any dissent interpreted as disloyalty to the institution of the monarchy".
They stood by the Campaign Committee for the Amendment of Article 112, which calls for the reform the lese majeste law as per the Nitirat's proposal.
"There is no political space in present-day Thailand to publicly discuss the role and future of the monarchy under democracy, which is a crucial subject for the country at the moment," the letter said.
The gist of the reform should include the making of punishment proportionate to the crime, limiting who can file a complaint to the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary, and capping the offence to royal insult to exclude national security violations.