Monday, December 12, 2011

US Issues Lese Majeste Travel Warning On Thailand

The US State Department issued a Lese Majest travel warning on Thailand. It was slow to come out. It was quiet - no press conference. Just buried in the US State Department Travel Website here.

"CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are in Thailand, you are subject to Thai laws and penalties, even if you are a U.S. citizen. If you violate Thai laws, even unknowingly, you may be fined, arrested, imprisoned or expelled. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. For example, Thais hold the King and the royal family in the highest regard, and it is a serious criminal offense in Thailand to make critical or defamatory comments about them. This particular crime, called "lese majeste," is punishable by a prison sentence of three to fifteen years. The offenses include actions that in the U.S. would be sanctioned as the exercise of free speech. If you use the Internet for this crime, you may be subject to additional criminal sanctions of up to seven additional years in prison. Thai authorities actively search for and investigate Internet postings, including blog entries and links to other sites, for lèse majesté content. They have arrested and charged U.S. citizens and others with lèse majesté offenses for actions that occurred outside of Thailand. You can also be charged if you do not remove a potentially offensive item fast enough from an Internet site you control. Purposely tearing or destroying Thai bank notes, which carry an image of the King, may also be considered a lese majeste offense, as can spitting on or otherwise defiling an official uniform bearing royal insignia."

Note that it doesn't go far enough. It doesn't warn potential travelers that they can expect no help from the US ambassador there, Kristie Kenney.

Here is the screen shot.

No comments:

Post a Comment