Professor flees Thailand after alleged insult to king

Don’t say anything about the hat, either

A prominent academic facing 15 years in prison for allegedly insulting the Thai monarchy has fled to England, saying that he did not believe he would receive a fair trial.

Ji Ungpakorn, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, was charged last month under a Thai lèse-majesté law over a book about the country’s military coup in 2006. His case is the latest in a spate of prosecutions and increased censorship of Web sites deemed to be critical of the royal family.

“There is no justice in Thailand,” Ji said in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press. “The regime seems to be inching toward a police state.”

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy but has severe lèse-majesté laws, mandating a prison term of 3 to 15 years for “whoever defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the regent.”

“When the last king is strangled…” may be a little extreme. But, the whole world would be a better place without inherited government.

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