Sulak Sivaraksa is a self-professed royalist who has faced at least five lese majeste charges. He is a leading academic and long-time conservative critic of the lese majeste law.
He was first arrested in 1984 in Bangkok and charged with insulting the king. His second case, in 1991 he was again charged after giving a speech at Chulalongkorn University. A third set of allegations were made against Sulak in 2006. Sulak’s fourth lese majeste case saw him taken from his Bangkok home late one night in November 2008 and driven 450 km to a police station in the northeast province of Khon Kaen. The outcome of these cases can be seen at our page on Sulak.
His fifth case saw two retired royalist generals file a lese majeste complaint against Sulak for a speech he made about King Naresuan, a historical figure considered important for the royalist mythology about Thailand.
On 16 October 2014, Lt Gen Padung Niwatwan and Lt Gen Pittaya Vimalin filed the complaint at Chanasongkram Police Station accusing Sulak of “defaming” the former king during a public speech on “Thai History: the Construction and Deconstruction” on 5 October at Thammasat University, Bangkok. It is reported that in the speech, Sulak claimed the legend of an elephant battle between Naresuan and a Burmese king was constructed and he criticized the king of some 400 years ago for being cruel.
Prachatai reports that “police have permitted a renowned royalist intellectual accused of lèse majesté to postpone hearing the charges against him” in this fifth case.
The report adds that Sulak is fighting another lese majeste case. PPT’s account notes a sixth case against Sulak. In early July 2015, it was reported that Sulak could face a sixth lese majeste charge for comments made in a panel discussion on the anniversary of the end of absolute monarchy. The discussion was organized by Rangsit University’s Faculty of Economics and the Heroes of Democracy Foundation. We had not heard any more on this case.
The Prachatai report, however, notes yet another case:
In 2016, Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, Deputy Police Chief, announced that nine people, including Sulak, and two corporations accused of lèse majesté for their involvement in a talk show aired in March 2013 called Tob Jod (The Answers) on Thai PBS, the only public TV channel in Thailand.
Tob Jod on 11-14 March and 18 March 2013 televised a debate on the lèse majesté law featuring Somsak Jeamteerasakul, an academic now in self-imposed exile in Europe, Sulak, Surakiart Sathirathai, former Deputy Prime Minister, and Pol Gen Vasit Dejkunchorn. The show was hosted by Pinyo Trisuriyathamma.
The five persons featured in the debate are among the nine accused.
We think Sulak holds the record for cases brought.