The concept of "lese-majeste" (literally, injury to the Majesty) as a
crime goes back to ancient Rome and was jealously guarded by absolute
monarchs in medieval Europe, while something similar existed in Asian
In Brunei, which like Thailand is ruled by a monarchy, three men were
jailed for a year in 2006 for sending mobile phone clips judged
seditious and insulting to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and his family.
Laws protecting the "dignity" of a monarch have been borrowed by many
modern republics. In the Indian Ocean state of the Maldives, three journalists were
sentenced to life in 2002 for "insulting the president" and setting up
a newsletter critical of the government.
In Poland, a member of the European Union, you can technically get up to three years for offending the president. In Germany, Switzerland and Poland it is illegal to insult foreign heads of state publicly.
On 5 January 2005, Jerzy Urban was sentenced by Poland to a fine of
20,000 złoty (about 5000 EUR or 6,200 USD) for having insulted Pope
John Paul II, a visiting head of state.
Also, on January 26 – January 27, 2005, 28 human rights activists were
temporarily detained by the Polish authorities for allegedly insulting
Vladimir Putin, a visiting head of state.
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.
Our heads of states are the most important figures we have in society, and we protect them as such.
Royal House of Hohenzollern
Fernidad Frederick, King of Prussia
Kaiser III (Emperor of Germany)
Great Pasha of the Ottoman Empire and Egypt
Emperor of the two Americas and Carpathia