Thai PM agrees to set up a panel of experts to screen lèse majesté cases
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has approved a proposal by the KLA Party to set up a special panel of experts to screen lèse majesté complaints filed with the police, to determine whether they should proceed, said KLA Party Secretary-General Atavit Suwannapakdee today (Sunday).
He referred to his debate with Piyabutr Saengkanokkul of the Progressive Movement, a vocal advocate for the repeal of the controversial lèse majesté law, on November 5th, during which he repeatedly insisted that the law must not be amended as Thailand’s monarchy needs to be protected.
Instead of repeal, as demanded by the reformists, Atavit said he proposed, during the debate, that a special screening panel should be formed.
If the panel rules that the cases should not proceed, they should be dropped, said the KLA party secretary-general.
The seven-member special panel will consist of two experts in the law and political science, as well as one representative each from the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General’s Office and the Royal Thai Police.
The party’s proposal for the creation of the panel was submitted to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin on November 8th, said Atavit, adding that he was informed by Somsak yesterday that the prime minister has endorsed it.
Under the present circumstances, any Thai citizen can file a lèse majesté complaint with the police against anybody who they consider has offended the Thai monarchy, and the police are obliged to accept the complaint.