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Police ban, confiscate book on democracy, monarchy

(SEAPA/IFEX) - The Thai police have banned and confiscated copies of a book by a respected and well-known social critic, alleging that the material "may cause unrest and degrade good morals" in Thai society.

The book by Sulak Sivaraksa, called "A quarter of a century of Thai politics: a thorn-filled path", concerns politics, democracy and the monarchy.

A Right Livelihood Award recipient, Sulak said a notice from the Special Branch Police on 2 October 2007 ordered him to stop printing, selling and disseminating the book, citing the 1941 Printing Law.

The law, created during the country's authoritarian past, gives the police the authority to censor and stop publications that are deemed a threat to peace, public safety or public morals.

Sulak, who has been tried and acquitted twice on lese majesty charges, has vowed to raise the case for the consideration of the national Human Rights commission and the Administrative Court.

When he was first charged with lese majesty in 1984, it created such international uproar that the government was forced to drop it. The second charge in 1991 arose from a talk he gave at Thammasat University about the repressed state of democracy in Thailand. He went into exile until the courts cleared him in 1995.

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