French-English. Term used for a law that criminalizes acts of disrespect or insult on the King or any member of the monarchy or regency, as well as anyone of the royal entourage, including royal pets, and in Thailand a serious crime according to Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code that supplements Article 8 of the
Thai Constitution. The law has been in place since 1908, but has been strengthened since 1957, by adding disrespect to the existing list of threats and defamation, in which also criticism in any way, shape or form, is considered an offence. In 1976, the law was revised and the already harsh penalties toughened even more, from a maximum of 7 years imprisonment, to penalties ranging from 3 to 15 years imprisonment per count, making it the world's harshest law for this kind of offence, and interpreted to mean that the King can not be criticized in any way. This 1976 amendment, known as Order No. 41, also criminalizes insults or criticism to the
Chakri Dynasty in general, as well as to any monarch from the past. In addition, it stipulates that offences of Lèse-majesté are punishable in the Kingdom no matter whether they were committed within or outside the Kingdom of Thailand. Despite the existence of similar laws in other countries, they are in contrast almost never enforced, nor are they as controversial, and certainly never as draconian as those in Thailand. Lèse-majesté is in Thailand considered a serious offence seen by many as a crime akin to a form of blasphemy or treason. The UN High Commission for Human Rights has repeatedly expressed concern over the increasing rise in the number of Lèse majesté prosecutions in Thailand, the severity of the sentencing, and alleged abuse of the law in order to silence political dissidence. Prosecutions for these offenses are often coupled with Section 14 of the Computer Crimes Act 2007, if disrespectful pictures or defamatory comments are stored on a computer or mobile device, posted online, shared digitally or even ‘liked’ on social media. Those charged with Lèse-majesté are often not allowed bail and may be held in detention for several months before a court hearing. In Thai, the law is known as Kwahm Phit To Ong Phra Maha Kasat Thai (ความผิดต่อองค์พระมหากษัตริย์ไทย) , literally ‘Offenses against the Thai King’.