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Think before speaking: Thai deputy PM to US envoy

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Bangkok: Reacting to remarks by the US envoy here about the military rule in Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Monday advised ambassador Glyn Davies to think carefully before speaking.

Prawit was responding to Davies’ comments at a Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand inter-action on November 25 where he lashed out at “the lengthy and unprecedented prison sentences handed down by Thai military courts against civilians” for breaching the lese majeste law, the Bangkok Post reported.

Thailand’s lese majeste laws are among the strictest in the world. It is a crime of violating majesty, an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against the state.

Since the military coup in 2014, the military junta has brought up 53 lese majeste cases, including 40 for online comments and posts.

The deputy prime minister claimed that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which seized power last year, provided more freedom than other juntas and was developing sustainable democracy in the country.

He asserted that the government attached much importance to human rights and provided much freedom, including freedom of the press, and no other junta had done the same.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said trade ties between the two nations could be affected if Davies repeated such remarks.

Human rights groups and governments worldwide also have criticised Thailand’s military regime for its curtailment of civil liberties and human rights.

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