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Pol Gen Vasit Dejkunjorn, former palace police chief and former Deputy Police Chief, has published an article in Matichon in response to recent comments by the US Ambassador and the United Nations Office of Human Rights on Thailand’s lèse majesté law.

Vasit wrote that he was not really surprised to hear that Kristie Kenney, the US Ambassador to Thailand, and Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, had ‘come out to make comments critical of the Thai court in the case of Amphon Tangnoppakul who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for lèse majesté.’

He was not surprised, in the case of Kenney, because he had studied in an American university where he had several American friends.  And as he has known many more Americans, he is aware that a number of Americans know and understand other peoples and countries only superficially, no matter how highly educated they are or how many degrees they have got from universities.

Citing Kenney’s degrees from various universities, Vasit said that he doubted whether those universities’ curricula had provided her with enough understanding about foreign countries including, in particular, Southeast Asian countries, and made her sufficiently aware that ‘the Thais’ feelings toward their King are completely different from those of Americans toward the President of the United States of America.’  

Considering her record of having served only in European and Latin American countries and the Philippines, he assumed that the Ambassador would never have had time to really study and get to know Thailand and the Thai people.

As for Ravina Shamdasani, he said that he could not find her record, except that she is a human rights advocate, ‘seeming quite young and looking Indonesian or Malay.’

‘However, both Kenney and Shamdasani may not know that the Thai King has been enthroned by succession in the dynasty, not by election for a four-year term like the American president,’ he said.

‘More importantly, the King is the institution which unifies the whole Thai nation and guarantees the continuity of the rule which has lasted for over 700 hundred years,’ he said.

He believed that Kenney and Shamdasani did not know much about Thailand’s criminal law, otherwise they would have known that lèse majesté offences were not like offences against ordinary people, but were against national security.

Citing that people are not aware of the fact that ‘all constitutions of the Kingdom of Thailand stipulate that the King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated [and] no person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action,’ he said that they therefore had come out to criticize or reproach the Thai court’s handling and ruling as inconsistent with universal standards on freedom of expression and in breach of international agreements on human rights.

‘This even goes so far as to demand the amendment of the lèse majesté law,’ he said.

‘I want to inform the US Embassy in Thailand and the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that I well understand how humans are entitled to rights, but I also understand that any human has duties as well,’ he said.

He said that, ‘to defame, insult, or disparage those worshipped by other people is the exercise of rights and freedoms beyond the boundaries any person should use and is a dereliction of duty or betrayal by that person.’ 

‘Especially in Thailand where the King is ultimately loved, respected and worshipped by the Thai people, such acts are deemed the ultimate offence which is not forgivable by the Thai people,’ he said.

He took note that Kenney and Shamdasani’s acts took place when insults to the King were rampant on the internet, as if they had never been aware of them or had never been informed by their staff.

‘Or is it their intention to join in the fray?’ Vasit asked.

‘A certain number of ungrateful Thai people are trying to destroy democracy with the King as Head of State. If the US or the UN are of this opinion or support this, they should know that the Thai people who worship and want to protect the King are ready to be their enemy and will fight both the US and the UN,’ he said.

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