Thai court drops royal insult charges against academic

A Thai military court has dropped royal insult charges against an 84-year old Thai historian who questioned whether a Thai king had actually defeated a Burmese adversary in combat on elephant-back over 500 years ago.

Sulak Sivaraksa (SOO'-lak SEE'-wah-rak) was charged in October under the draconian law that protects the monarchy from libel and defamation. The Bangkok military court had agreed to hear views from historians and experts before it decided to drop the charges Wednesday for lack of evidence.

His case stems from remarks he made in 2014 when he told a university seminar to "not fall prey to propaganda" and questioned whether King Naraesuan had really won the 1593 battle by defeating a Burmese prince in solo combat mounted on a war elephant.