Thailand opposing party calls for amendments to strict royal defamation law
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Thailand opposing party calls for amendments to strict royal defamation law

Thailand’s opposing party, the Pheu Thai Paty, called for amendments to the strict royal insults law in a statement on Sunday.

The law in question includes lese majeste, whereby insulting a member of the royal family can lead to a 15-year prison sentence, under section 112 of the Criminal Code. The party stated that the current law is causing public trust in the justice system to weaken, shown by the increase in anti-governmental protestors in Bangkok.

The co-leader of the Pheu Thai Party, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, submitted a petition signed by 28,426 people to release young protestors currently imprisoned. Pheu Thai is pushing parliament to consider amendments to the law, in addition to judicial review of law enforcement officials and public prosecutors. This is in an effort to reduce the number of people charged with violations of royal defamation laws.

The party argued that amendments were needed to uphold the rule of law and continue to promote democracy. Other parties such as the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and Democrats have opposed any changes to the lese majeste and sedition laws, however. This proposal was brought by 44 lawmakers of another opposing party, Move Forward.

Nevertheless, the push for the presiding parliament to amend the law is with the aim to restore trust in the system in which “prisoners of conscience” are currently stuck.