Король Таиланда Пхумипон Адульядет (Bhumibol Adulyadej), фото 2010г.
Американский гражданин написал "статью", которая едва не довела короля до инсульта и не осиротила всю тайскую нацию. И даже более того: никакая это была ни "статья", а всего лишь линк с рецензией на прозападную книгу о тайском монархе "Король никогда не смеётся" (King Never Smiles), которая, правда, запрещена в Таиланде.
К счастью, инсульт с 83-летним королём так и не произошёл. Но журналист за своё творчество, тем не менее, поплатился: для начала его сразу же арестовали, теперь на горизонте маячит срок в 22 года лишения свободы.
Подобные меры "защиты информационной безопасности" в Таиланде уже не редкость. Это один из элементов предвыборной парламентской кампании, венец которой уже не за горами - в начале июля с.г.
The American, Lerpong Wichaicommart, has been charged with using the Internet to disseminate information that insults or threatens the monarchy, the Thai authorities said on Friday.
“He violated the law by writing articles and posted them on a Web site,” Tharit Pengdit, the director of
Mr. Lerpong, 54, is being held without bail. Taken together, the charges against him could add up to a 22-year prison term.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 83, has commanded enormous respect during his six decades on the throne. But he has been hospitalized for the past 20 months, a time of deep political divisions and soul-searching about the monarchy’s future.
The country is preparing for parliamentary elections on July 3, and campaigning has underlined the deep political fissures in Thai society. One of the issues in the campaign is the increasingly aggressive use of the lèse-majesté law, which bans anyone from defaming, insulting or threatening the king, queen and crown prince.
The military has taken a leading role in bringing charges against suspects in such cases, including leading opposition figures. The Thai authorities have also become more forceful in policing the Internet, with thousands of Web sites shut down in recent years for insults against the royal family.
Among the charges against Mr. Lerpong is that he provided a link on a Web site to a digital version of “The King Never Smiles,” a book by Paul M. Handley, an American journalist. The book, published by Yale University Press and banned in
Mr. Lerpong was arrested on Tuesday, but the case was not made public until Friday, when a Thai Web site, prachatai3.info, published details of his case.
Mr. Lerpong was born in
He met Friday with a
“We are still gathering information about the arrest and the charges,” Ms. Kneedler said. “We just visited him this morning. We are in contact with his family.” Mr. Lerpong also goes by the name Joe W. Gordon.
The number of lèse-majesté cases has sharply increased in recent years although the exact number is not known. Some cases have gone largely unreported and, like Mr. Lerpong’s case, often involve Internet postings.
Similar to Mr. Lerpong’s case is that of Anthony Chai, another naturalized American citizen from
The group says the Thai authorities obtained Mr. Chai’s identity through his Internet provider, Netfirms, which was based in
“This case will serve as an example and convince other