Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thai academic says he was charged for royal insult

BANGKOK (AFP) — Thai police Tuesday charged an outspoken academic with insulting the royal family in a book, the accused professor said, a day after an Australian author was jailed on similar charges.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a political science professor, said he was formally charged under the kingdom's harsh lese majeste laws protecting the monarchy from defamation.

The academic told AFP he was was charged over "the content of my anti-military coup book, 'A Coup for the Rich.'"

"The charges seem to have arisen out of a complaint made by the Chulalongkorn University book shop to the police," said Giles, a Thai national who teaches there.

The book is about the bloodless military putsch in 2006 which toppled then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who now lives in exile to avoid a jail sentence for corruption.

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