Thai activist sentenced to 28 years for online posts about king. A court in Thailand sentenced a 27-year-old political activist to 28 years in prison. On Thursday for posting messages on Facebook.
A Thai court on Thursday sentenced a 27-year-old. Political activist to 28 years in prison for posting messages on Facebook. That it said defamed the country’s monarchy. As two young women accused of the same crime continued. Their hunger strike after being hospitalized.
A court in the northern province of Chiang Rai found.
That Mongkhon Thirakot violated lese majeste laws in 14 of the 27 posts for which he was arrested last August. The law covers the current king, his queen and heir and any ruler.
The lese majeste law carries prison sentences of three to 15 years per incident for insulting the monarchy. But critics say it is often used as a tool to quash political dissent. Student-led pro-democracy protests that began in 2020 criticized the monarchy. Before a taboo subject, leading to harsher prosecutions under the law. Which had before been rarely employed.
Since November 2020, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, a legal aid organization. At least 228 people, including 18 minors, have been charged with violations of the law. Even as the protest movement withered due to arrests and difficulties in managing protests. The covid-19 pandemic.
A Chiang Rai court found that 13 messages posted by Mongkhon.
An online clothing trader, did not violate the law. Because they related to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Father of the current King Maha Vajiralongkorn, or referred to a specific royal figure. Mongkhon was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for each of the other 14 posts. Mongkhon’s cooperation with the court resulted in a total sentence of 42 years reduced by a third to 28 years.
Monkhon was released on bail while his case was on appeal. On the condition that he not engage in acts that harm the monarchy or leave the country.
Trials under lese majeste laws have recently attracted. Public attention due to a hunger strike in prison by two women activists accused of crimes.
The two, Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanan and Orawan “Bam” Phupong, were released. On bail but announced earlier this month that they were revoking. Their own release to return to prison in solidarity with others on trial on the same charges. They issued demands including reform of the judicial system. The release of political prisoners. And the restoration of civil liberties by repealing laws such as Les Majesties.
After three days in prison, they began a hunger strike in which they ate no food or liquid, a life-threatening tactic. On Tuesday, they were shifted from the prison hospital. A state hospital with advanced facilities.
As their strike continued, supporters staged small demonstrations.
The opposition Move Forward Party. Which has been supporting it, has proposed amending the Les Majesties Act. But no action has been taken in parliament.
The proposal would reduce the largest sentence of one year in prison. And a fine of up to 300,000 baht ($9,160) for defaming the king. While offenses against the queen, the king’s heir or the king would be subject to a largest of six. -months in jail and a fine of up to 200,000 baht ($6,100).
“There is a problem with the whole Thai justice system. And so there is a problem with the enforcement of the lese majeste law, which is also used as a political tool. Thailand needs to address this and improve its corrupt justice system,” said party leader Pita Limjaroenrat.