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How the Thailand military is using a century-old respect-the-throne law to silence critics

by Milena Mikael-Debass
Nov 3 2016, 6:44am

Thai society’s respect for its royal family is deep-rooted and codified into civil law. In place for over a century, the lèse majesté law is meant to protect Thai royals from insult or threat.

On Oct. 13, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, passed away at age 88. His death sparked a string of arrests and mob justice linked to violations of lèse majesté.

Rights groups argue crackdowns on anyone suspected of breaking the law apply a much broader interpretation that includes political dissent, not just direct insults about the most senior royals.

Country Coded is a video series that explores game-changing or controversial laws around the world. Check out the first episode on how women in Iran reacted to a sexist cycling ban.