On thursday, Oliver Jufer (Swiss) was pardoned after receiving a 10 year sentence for spraying graffiti on posters of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Jufer is now being deported, after 10 years living in the country.
Thai authorities have also outlawed You Tube from the country because of a few videos commenting on the King.
But it’s not only Thailand that enjoys this robust approach:
Brunei, 2006, three men were jailed for a year for sending mobile clips insulting Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
Malidives, 2002, three journalists sentenced to life for insulting the president.
Poland, 2005, 28 people arrested for protesting against the visiting Vladimir Putin. Polish law mandates up to 3 years of porridge for offending their dignitaries or any visiting ones.
Similar shenanigans abound in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, Belarus and Syria
On a related subject : Access to You Tube is banned in Turkey after the authorities found videos insulting their hero Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - who has been dead for nearly 70 years.
This information came from an article in the BBC News by Patrick Jackson entitled “sensitive heads of state”, there's much more detail in the full article.
It's easy to dismiss these as strange goings on in distant lands but Poland is now a fully paid up member of The Mighty Onion (European Onion, brings tears to your eyes etc) and Turkey is bent on joining the club.
How will the Poles and Turks react when "dissidents" successfully appeal to the EU in future? Nevertheless, isn't this a more promising approach to spreading democracy and freedom of speech than the US bashing of Iraq? Something for Dubya to think about there, if that isn't too much of a contradiction.
Yes, Iraq, the 51st state!