UN’s Human Rights office “appalled” by the sentencing.
Today a Thai man has been jailed for ’35 years’ for a Facebook (FB) posts deemed insulting to the royal family, in 1 of the harshest sentences handed down for a crime protecting Thailand’s ultra-rich monarchy from criticism.
A Bangkok military court convicted the 34 year old man for posting pictures, comments & videos on a Facebook account concerning the Thailand’s royal family.
Wichai, whose last name has been withheld in order to protect his family & relatives from ostracisation, was accused of using the FB account to slander a former friend, said iLaw which is a group that tracks the royal defamation cases.
“The court punished Wichai with 7 years per count, altogether he was given seventy years, but it was reduced to 1/2 because he confessed,” said Y Atchanont from iLaw.
Prosecutions have continued under the Thailand’s new king Maha Vajiralongkorn, who took the throne in late 2016 after the death of his deeply respected & admired father.
Observers have been carefully watching how the Thailand’s new king approaches controversial legislation, which effectively blocks the scrutiny of Thailand’s powerful & opaque monarchy.
The Lese majeste court cases are routinely concealed in secrecy, with media forced to heavily self-censor the all the details to avoid breaching the broadly-interpreted law.
News reporters were barred from entering the military court in which Wichai’s verdict was read.