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09BANGKOK520 THAI MFA PERMSEC RAISES LESE MAJESTE WITH AMBASSADOR MARCIEL AT ASEAN SUMMIT

with one comment

“194823”,”3/3/2009 3:15″,”09BANGKOK520″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

 

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RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 6813

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 9472

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RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY”,

 

“C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 000520

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/02/2019

TAGS: PHUM, PREL, PGOV, KJUS, TH

SUBJECT: THAI MFA PERMSEC RAISES LESE MAJESTE WITH

AMBASSADOR MARCIEL AT ASEAN SUMMIT

 

BANGKOK 00000520 001.2 OF 002

 

Classified By: Charge d\’ Affaires James F. Entwistle, reason: 1.4 (b, d

)

 

1. (C) EAP Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Ambassador

for ASEAN Affairs Scot Marciel engaged Thai Ministry of

Foreign Affairs (MFA) Permanent Secretary Virasadki Futrakul

February 28 on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in

Cha-am/Hua Hin regarding U.S.-bilateral relations and ASEAN

issues (septel). During the meeting, Virasadki provided

Ambassador Marciel a non-paper on lese majeste in response to

coverage of lese majeste-related developments in the

recently-released Country Report on Human Rights Practices.

Marciel gave no response to the non-paper but said that he

would carry it back to Washington.

 

2. (C) Virasadki expressed concern with the recently

released Human Rights Report. He explained that, under the

criminal code, anybody can bring charges of lese majeste, but

in the past King Bhumibol had been lenient and always granted

clemency to foreigners convicted of this offense. Virasakdi

stated that the RTG was very careful to ensure that this law

was not misused; currently the RTG was reviewing who amongst

the populace could bring charges of lese majeste. The RTG

was reviewing the practices of EU countries with monarchies

to see what types of reforms can be made.

 

3. (C) Virasadki urged that non-Thai should understand that

lese majeste is a defensive mechanism to protect the

institution of the monarchy, and that the institution of the

monarchy was part and parcel of the Thai identity. He

provided Ambassador Marciel with a note verbale on this

topic. The text follows, with grammatical errors reproduced

as in the original:

 

BEGIN TEXT

———-

 

Thailand\’s Comments on the U.S. State Department\’s 2008 Human

Rights Report

 

– We are greatly disappointed by the U.S. State Department,s

human rights report concerning lese-majeste provision, which

is part of Thailand,s Criminal Code.

 

– The U.S. State Department,s human rights report clearly

illustrates a great misunderstanding of lese-majeste law,

mainly its application, since it also contains general

provisions on defamation and libel of private individuals.

 

– The rational of the law is simple. The law is there to

protect Thailand,s national security because under the Thai

Constitution, the monarchy is one of Thailand,s principal

institutions. This is also necessary as the King and other

members of the Royal Family are above politics. The

Constitution does not allow them to comment or act in their

own defense. Therefore, this is the same rationale as the

law on contempt of court. These institutions should remain

above conflicts and not be drawn into one.

 

– Thailand upholds people,s rights to freedom of speech and

expression; such rights are guaranteed by the Thai

Constitution. The lese-majeste law is not aimed at curbing

neither these rights nor the the legitimate exercise of

academic freedom including the debates about the monarchy as

an institution. All cases mentioned in the report, including

the case of Giles Ungpakorn are under the due process of law

and are subject to further proof of evidences and facts.

 

– Given the Thai peoples, appreciation of the King,s

devotion to their well-being during his reign, most Thais are

deeply revernt and highly protective towards their King,

hence their low tolerance for those suspected for

lese-majeste. Such is part of the cultural or social values

that have shaped the Thai public,s views regarding the

lese-majeste law and the protection of the monarchy as a

principal national institution.

 

– Due to our countries, longstanding relationship of more

than 175 years, Thailand and the U.S. have formed a close

bond of friendship especially at the people-to-people level,

therefore the insensitivities of this report have had a

tremendous impact on the sentiments of the Thai people,

 

BANGKOK 00000520 002.2 OF 002

 

particularly when the U.S. is regarded as our closest friend.

 

– We urge the U.S. Department of State to properly address

and rectify the misunderstandings in this report in order to

prevent the further misinterpretation of Thailand,s

lese-majeste law, in which the Thai people abide by in their

daily lives.

 

END TEXT

——–

 

4. (U) Ambassador Marciel has cleared this cable.

ENTWISTLE

Written by thaicables

June 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm

One Response

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  1. […] our continuing series on Wikileaks cables, today we direct attention to a Wikileaks cable, dated 3 March 2009, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand responds to the rather bland […]


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