Monday, 12 June 2017
Man sentenced to 35 years in prison for insulting Thailand monarchy on Facebook
A Bangkok military court today jailed a 34-year-old man for insulting royal family on social media, according to a watchdog, it was one of the harshest sentences handed down for a crime that insulates Thailand's ultra-rich monarchy from criticism. Wichai, whose last name was withheld to protect his family from ostracisation, was convicted of ten counts of lese majeste for sharing photos and videos of the royal family that he allegedly shared on Facebook that purported to belong to a different user.
He was accused of using the account to slander a former friend, said iLaw, a group that tracks royal defamation cases.
A Thai legal watchdog group, iLaw, told AFP that Wichai was originally facing a 70-year sentence ten years for each count but his sentence was reduced because he confessed to the crimes after spending a year in jail waiting for his trial. Thailand's lèse-majesté law is believed to be one of the strictest law in Thailand, a law meant to protect the royal family from being defamed, but is often used to suppress dissent. Violators can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, and complaints can be made by anyone, against anyone, at any time.
In another story, a criminal court sentenced another lese majeste suspect to 2.5 years in jail for uploading an audio clip from an underground political radio show that was deemed insulting to the monarchy.