Former Deputy House Speaker Faces Lese Majeste Charge

Former Deputy House Speaker Apiwan Wiriyachai (Matichon file photo)

BANGKOK — An arrest warrant has been issued for a senior politician allied to the former government for allegedly committing lese majeste (insulting the monarchy).

Col. Apiwan Wiriyachai,  an MP of the former ruling Pheu Thai Party and former Deputy House Speaker, is accused of insulting the Royal Family during one of his speeches in Bangkok, according to Pol.Gen. Somyot Pumphanmuang, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police. 

At a press conference today, Pol.Gen. Somyot did not give exact details about Mr. Apiwan's remarks, but said he has instructed the police force to "swiftly" locate Mr. Apiwan and bring him to justice now that the court has already approved the arrest warrant.

"We give priority to lese majeste cases," Pol.Gen. Somyot said.

Remarks deemed critical of the Royal Family are criminalised under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Codes. Those convicted of lese majeste face up to 15 years in prison.

In recent years, the number of lese majeste allegations have risen sharply alongside any escalation of political turmoil. Although political figures of both Redshirt and Yellowshirt camps accuse each other of lese majeste, a majority of lese majeste cases involve Redshirt activists and politicians.

 

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