Monday, January 19, 2009

The importance of the First Amendment

AOL News tells the story of an Australian writer, Harry Nicolaides, who was sentenced by Bangkok's Criminal
Court to six years in prison for "insulting Thailand's royal family" in his 2005 novel, "Verisimilitude."

The book is fiction. It sold seven copies. The passage in question relates to "the personal life of a fictional prince" which "suggested that there was an abuse of royal power."

Nicolaides' sentenced was reduced to three years by the judge because "he had entered a guilty plea."

"This can't be real. It feels like a bad dream," said Nicolaides, tearfully.

Thailand has a law, known as "lese majeste," which "mandates a penalty of three to 15 years imprisonment for 'whoever defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the Regent."

It's a law the departing George W. Bush, the evil Cheney and the dastardly Karl Rove would love.

Compare the following and thank your lucky stars you live in the U.S. of A. where soon da Bush and his cronies will be "history":

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

--The Constitution of the United States, Amendment I.

The AOL article is here.

1 comment:

Bob Poris said...

Too bad those simple rules can be subverted.

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