Tue 19 January 2021:
A court in Thailand on Tuesday sentenced a former civil servant to a record prison term of 43 years and six months for breaching the country’s strict law on insulting or defaming , lawyers said.
The criminal court sentenced the woman to 87 years in jail, however after confession, her sentence was halved to 43 years and six months, according to local daily Bangkok Post.
The Bangkok Criminal Court found Anchan, 60, a former civil servant, guilty on 29 counts of violating the country’s lese majeste law for posting audio clips to Facebook and YouTube with comments deemed critical of the monarchy, the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said.
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Her case dates back six years, when anti-establishment sentiment was growing after a 2014 military coup led by Prayuth. She was held in jail from January 2015 to November 2018.
She denied the charges when her case was first heard in military court, where lese majeste offenses were prosecuted for a period after the coup. When her case was transferred to criminal court, she pleaded guilty with the hope that the court would have sympathy for her actions, because she had only shared the audio, not posted or commented on it, she told local media Tuesday on her arrival at court.
This set a new record on penalty for breaching the law on insulting the king, with 70 years being slammed on a man in 2015 for a similar offence.
Violating Thailand’s lese majeste law – known widely as Article 112 – is punishable by three to 15 years’ imprisonment per count. The law is controversial not only because it has been used to punish things as simple as liking a post on Facebook but also because anyone – not just royals or authorities – can lodge a complaint that can tie up the person accused in legal proceedings for years.
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