Our close Asian ally, Thailand, continues to crush both free speech and political dissent under its draconian criminal code. Mechanic Thanakorn Siripaiboon, 27, is facing a potential of 37 years for allegedly insult King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88, by “liking” a humorous photoshopped photo of the King’s dog and passing it along to his over 600 “friends.” That’s all it take in Thailand to face 37 years in jail . . . insulting the King’s dog. It is all part of what is called lèse-majesté governing royal insults but this is the first known extension of the law to royal pets.
The mechanic, 27, faces charges including sedition, lese majeste and more generic ‘computer crimes’. Colonel Burin Thongprapai described the criminal conduct as follows: “On December 2, he clicked the ‘like’ link on a doctored photo of the king and shared it with 608 friends. He is in military custody and good condition.”
This absurd charge comes on the heels of an investigation of American ambassador, Glyn T. Davies, after he gave a speech to foreign correspondents praising the king but criticizing the “lengthy and unprecedented prison sentences” handed down by Thai military courts on lèse-majesté charges.
Now it appears that in the authoritarian Thailand every royal dog has its day . . . in court.