Thai princess' parents jailed for insulting monarchy

Parents of crown prince's estranged wife 'used royal link to have woman jailed'

Thai princess' parents jailed for insulting monarchy


World Bulletin / News Desk

The parents of a former Thai princess have been jailed as they await trial on lese majeste charges after admitting using their royal connection to have a woman falsely imprisoned, local media reported Saturday.

Apiruj, 72, and Wanthanee Suwadee, 66, the father and mother of the estranged wife of the Thai crown prince, confessed to having the woman jailed for 18 months on a bogus fraud charge in 2003.

The woman, Sawita Maneechan, brought the allegation at the beginning of February, 12 years after she was imprisoned in Ratchaburi province, west of Bangkok, the Nation newspaper said.

The Suwaddes initially denied the claim but were denied bail after they confessed to police on Friday.

The Khaosod news website quoted Wanthanee as saying: “What I have done? What I have said? I did not mean it. I have confessed to every allegation. I don’t want to say much. I only would like to say that I still love and revere the monarchy.”

One of their daughters was allowed to stay in prison with the couple due to their age, Police Col. Akkaradej Pimolsri, acting director of the Crime Suppression Division, said.

Former Princess Srirasmi, now known as Thanpuying Srirasmi Suwadee, had her royal name withdrawn by husband Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn after several of her brothers, a sister and her uncle, Police Lt. Gen. Pongpat Chayapan, were accused in November of widespread corruption.

Srirasmi, who became Vajiralongkorn’s third wife in 2001, resigned from the royal family a few days later and has since been living with her parents.

It is unclear whether she is yet formally divorced from the crown prince. They have a nine-year-old son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, who is thought to have been taken away from his mother.

Vajiralongkorn is expected to take a former Thai Airways flight attendant as his fourth wife.

Srirasmi received 200 million baht ($6.2 million) from the crown property bureau after relinquishing her royal titles.

The stringent lese majeste law makes insulting or criticizing the royal family a criminal offense punishable by a jail term of up to 15 years. The offense is widely interpreted by military courts and used to restrict public discussion of the royal family.

Chayapan, who headed the powerful Central Investigation Bureau until the corruption scandal exploded, was sentenced to 31 years in prison after he confessed to lese majeste, bribery and money laundering charges.

The number of people detained for lese majeste offenses has rocketed since the military seized power in May last year.

According to the International Federation of Human Rights, 40 people have been arrested on lese majeste charges since the coup. Bail is systemically denied to defendants and trials are held in secret in military courts.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Şubat 2015, 12:07