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Thai man imprisoned for 18 years for insulting the Thai monarchy

On Wednesday, a man was sentenced to 18 years in prison for insulting the Thai monarchy. The man was, in late 2015, jailed for posting six videos which allegedly insulted to the monarchy. The news was first reported by Reuters.

The 61-year-old man was arrested back in 2015. He was then charged with royal defamation and different cases of computer crime. On Wednesday, the Bangkok military court sentenced him to 18 years in jail for violation of Article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code.

Then Crown Prince of Thailand and now King Rama X in 2007. Photo: Amrufm (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Article 112 states that anyone who “defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent” will be punished with up to 15 years in prison. The man, therefore, received the maximum penalty and three years also because of the computer crime. The man’s lawyer said to Reuters that “he accepted the charge against him.”

It is not possible for the man to appeal his sentence, said his attorney. This is because he was arrested while Thailand was under martial law. Use of the “lèse majesté” laws in Thailand has risen sharply under the royalist junta that took power in 2014.

King of Thailand with his son. Photo: Public Relations Department of Thailand

Just two months ago, another man was jailed for 35 years in Thailand for insulting the monarchy on Facebook. He was convicted by a military court in Bangkok for Facebook posts which were insulting to the Thai Royal Family. He was convicted of 10 counts of lèse majesté for posting photos and videos of the Royal Family.

The laws of lèse majesté in Thailand makes it illegal to defame, insult, or threaten the king, queen, heir-apparent, or regent. The law has been on the statute books since 1908. The punishment is from three to fifteen years of imprisonment per count and has been described as the “world’s harshest lèse majesté law.”

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