Postbag: Thailand's climate of fear | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Postbag: Thailand's climate of fear

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Dusit Thammarak's argument, ''No right to judge'' (PostBag, Jan 29) saying that the Thai judicial system is now the only institution left the people of Thailand can rely and depend on since ''the parliament and the government are now dead'' rings hollow. Since when does being least bad equate to being good? 

Furthermore, his argument that many Thai judges are educated in the West, thus bringing them ''into line with other judicial systems around the world'' also rings hollow. The sentence handed down to Somyot Prueksakasemsuk could have and should have been much less severe. May I remind readers that Thailand was one of the original signatories to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proudly proclaims that the Universal Declaration forms the basis for Thai law and that its principles are firmly embedded in Thailand's 2007 Constitution. It is time for the people and government of Thailand to wake up and speak up. Either live by your international commitments and promises or have the intestinal fortitude to renounce them in favour of your own hybrid brand of democracy and human rights. For those of you (including Khun Dusit) who are not familiar with the Universal Declaration let me conclude by quoting Article No.19: ''Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and import information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.''

Finally, I commend the Bangkok Post for its courageous editorial on the subject of lese majeste _ I just wish it had gone a bit further to include a discussion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But given the climate of fear that exists in Thailand today on this subject, I suppose that the editor's reluctance to speak the sad truth is understandable. Was it not the beloved King of Thailand himself who said that even he should not be above criticism?

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