Bangkok Pundit argues that, at least in the case of Harry Nicolaides, the best approach is to keep quiet, and hope that a guilty plea will see a quick pardon, and safe journey home. Thai Crisis bets that he will be pardoned on 5 December. Let’s hope so. Good luck to Harry, his family, and his lawyers.
While a restrained silence may be appropriate in some cases, we feel that the international media, blogosphere and academic community has a role to play in focussing critical attention on the anachronistic lèse majesté law. Regardless of the political or legal circumstances of particular accusations (whether it is Chotisak, Jufer, Head, Da Torpedo, Jakrapob, Sulak or Nicolaides) there is a role for international commentary that highlights the ongoing travesties of justice, and gross political opportunism, that the lèse majesté law enables.
What can be done? Symbolic statements of concern can serve useful purposes but they can also be readily dismissed as meaningless gestures. Are there more sustained and meaningful options? What are your suggested responses to the growing ambition of lèse majesté accusers? How should international commentators respond to the arrests in Thailand? And how should they respond if Thai authorities attempt to block, or even punish, fair comment originating from other parts of the world?
We welcome your comments.