UN rights expert urges Thailand not to stifle free speech News
UN rights expert urges Thailand not to stifle free speech

[JURIST] UNl Special Rapporteur David Kaye [official profile] called on [press release] Thai authorities Tuesday to cease using royal defamation laws to counter free speech that is critical of the royal family. This report was released as a law student activist awaits trial in detention for sharing a BBC news article on the new King, Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, on his private Facebook page. The student has been held in detention since his December 2 arrest. Kaye claims that international human rights laws prohibit not only the current actions of Thailand but also the law: “Lesè-majesté provisions have no place in a democratic country. I urge the authorities of Thailand to take steps to revise the country’s Criminal Code and to repeal the law that establishes a justification for criminal prosecution”

Thailand has been criticized in recent months for its human rights policies. The Thailand Parliament unanimously approved [JURIST report] a controversial amendment to its Computer Crime Act of 2007 (CCA) in December, which rights groups fear will give the government unrestricted power to police the web and suppress criticism. In September Amnesty International released a report [JURIST report] detailing the prevalence of torture employed by Thai authorities and claiming the military government has led to a “culture of torture.” The same month Thailand’s Bangkok South Criminal Court found British labor rights activist Andy Hall guilty [JURIST report] of criminal defamation and violating cyber crime laws.