Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Diplomat's Son Was Charged For Offending Thai Royalty.

The son of a Norwegian diplomat in his 30’s was charged for negative remarks he made against the Thai royal family and violating visa rules. It is strictly forbidden to criticize the royals in Thailand.

"We Thais have deep respect for the royal family," Thailand's ambassador to Norway, Chitriya Pinthong, told newspaper VG on Tuesday Feb 21, 2006. The ambassador noted the Thai penal code that regulates the prohibition against making derogatory remarks about Thailand's head of state or members of the royal family.

Thailand's ambassador declined to comment further on the case, because it is now under the jurisdiction of the Thai court system. A spokesperson for the Norwegian Foreign Ministry was also reluctant to speak about the case, saying it was "a consular matter, on which we don't want to comment."

Norway's embassy in Bangkok confirmed that it had been involved in the case, but would not offer details. Arne Lundby of the embassy told VG "in Thailand, you're breaking the law if you speak negatively about, or in another way offend, members of the royal family." VG reported that the alleged offense, according to Thai authorities, occurred at a gathering in Thailand last spring, at which both the diplomat's son and a Thai princess were present. The nature of the offense was not revealed.

The Norwegian was charged in 2005 and taken into custody, but he was released from jail after posting bail. He no longer has a diplomatic passport and his travel documents have been seized, as he has been prohibited from leaving the country while his court case is pending.

His diplomat father was not identified, but he reportedly is not attached to the Norwegian embassy in Bangkok.

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