A Thai army courtroom on Thursday delayed a choice on whether or not to prosecute a outstanding historian and social critic who advised that a famed duel on elephant-again gained by a Thai king towards a Burmese prince 500 years in the past might not even have occurred.
The eighty four-yr-previous Sulak Sivaraksa was charged by police final October beneath the nation’s draconian lese majeste regulation that protects the monarchy from libel and defamation.
The army courtroom on Thursday agreed with Sulak’s request to listen to views from specialists and historians and set a brand new listening to for Jan. 17.
Sulak advised reporters outdoors the courtroom that “to stay on this nation you should have a humorousness as a result of my case is nonsensical.” He stated it might be unattainable for Thais to study historical past if commenting on King Naraesuan, who led the well-known 1593 battle that’s celebrated as a nationwide vacation, is taken into account unlawful.
The case stems from remarks Sulak made in 2014 when he urged a college seminar to assume critically about Thai historical past.
Thailand’s lese majeste regulation is the harshest on the earth, punishable by three to fifteen years in jail. The regulation, in writing, solely protects the king, queen, and inheritor obvious, and does not seem to say lifeless monarchs, however in follow the principles are extra extensively interpreted.
The ruling army authorities has pursued over 250 lese majeste instances because it seized energy in a 2014 coup, greater than any earlier governments up to now decade, in response to Thai newspaper Prachatai. The regulation has been extensively criticized together with by rights teams and the U.N., which has referred to as for it to be revoked.
“The junta’s abusive use of the lese majeste regulation has reached a brand new peak of absurdity when a outstanding scholar is charged with a felony offense for questioning the prevalence of a sixteenth-century battle,” stated Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch. “Educational freedom and free speech in Thailand will endure devastating blows if the trial towards Sulak proceeds.”
Sulak is a well known educational and proclaimed royalist however an outspoken critic of the lese majeste regulation. He has beforehand confronted at the very least 5 lese majeste costs.
British author and historian Chris Baker stated there are a minimum of 10 totally different accounts of the elephant battle informed in Thai, Burmese and French.
“There isn’t a definitive account. There are numerous totally different accounts and historians settle for that maybe we do not truly know what occurred,” Baker stated. “There are simply many various tales advised about an occasion that appears to have been very thrilling.”
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