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Frenchman Charged with Insulting Royal Family

February 1, 1995

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ A Frenchman has been arrested on charges of insulting Thailand’s royal family aboard a Thai Airways flight, sources close to the case said today.

Lech Thomas Kissielewicz, 47, criticized the monarchy after the crew refused to let him turn on his light because Princess Somsawali was sleeping in a nearby seat, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

No one involved would say what Kissielewicz was accused of saying.

The royal family is widely revered in Thailand and insulting its members carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Foreigners are rarely charged, but a number of Thais have been charged in recent years.

The Dec. 10 flight was bound from India to Japan. Kissielewicz was arrested during a stopover in Bangkok. He was released on $16,000 bail, but ordered to remain in Bangkok for his trial Feb. 15, police said.

The French Embassy refused comment.

Police said Kissielewicz works for a computer software company in Tokyo.

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