Last week New Mandala hosted a discussion of questions raised in the United Kingdom parliament about the death of lese majeste prisoner Ampon “Ar Kong” Tangnoppakul. The UK government has now responded through Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Jeremy Browne.

There are specific responses to the four questions: on Ampon, on lese majeste, on freedom of expression and on Thai prison conditions.

Andrew Spooner, who has been following these developments closely, has provided a thorough analysis here.

As Spooner notes:

What is clear from these responses is that the UK is very uneasy about the lese majeste law itself, the disproportionate sentences meted out by the courts for those found guilty of LM and the general treatment of prisoners.

He goes on to place these responses in a wider political and geopolitical context. As I suggested last week, such efforts to draw international attention to Thailand’s lese majeste law are well worth watching closely. And Andrew Spooner will continue to keep us all up-to-date with any further developments in the UK.

Finally, as an aside, is anyone aware of a Southeast Asian equivalent of the “They Work For You” website (which is where those responses are hosted)? Could you imagine something like that getting off the ground in Thailand, or Malaysia, or Cambodia…or Myanmar?