Current instances of lese-majeste application crop up periodically in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Thailand. In the Indian Ocean state of the Maldives, 3 journalists were sentenced to life in 2002 for "insulting the president" and setting up a newsletter critical of the government. In October 2006, a Polish man was arrested in Warsaw after expressing his dissatisfaction with the leadership of Lech and Jarosław Kaczyński by passing gas loudly. An Egyptian court sentenced blogger Abdel Kareem Soliman in February 2007 to 4 years in prison for insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak. Swiss national Oliver Jufer, who admitted to spray-painting several portraits of the Thai king during a drunken spree in Chiang Mai, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March 2007. He received a royal pardon subsequently and was promptly deported.
Prof Ronald Hutton of Bristol University opined on the travesty: "It was the idea that being rude about a government was a very bad idea - it hurt the government but was technically not treason because no act of rebellion was committed." But it was King Henry VIII (1491-1547) who first took personal injury one step further by passing an act which made speaking against the king treason in itself so "lese-majeste" became redundant.
Interestingly, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s longest-reigning monarch, may be growing tiresome of strict applications of the law. "Actually, I must also be criticized," he said in 2005. "If someone offers criticisms suggesting that the King is wrong, then I would like to be informed of their opinion. If I am not, that could be problematic... If we hold that the King cannot be criticised or violated, then the King ends up in a difficult situation." Someone else (not of blue blood) said as much decades ago, "I don't think I worry too much about what people think... In fact, criticism or general debunking even stimulates me because I think it is foolish not to have your people read you being made fun of. And we have got books circulating in Singapore written specially for this purpose by foreigners." (LKY to New Zealand academics and journalists in Christchurch on April 15, 1975)