Ten jailed in Thailand under ‘lese majeste law’

Thai military court sentences 10 people to five years in prison for insulting country’s monarchy

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Ten people were sentenced to five years in jail by the Bangkok military court on Tuesday for insulting Thai monarchy by distributing content on social media.

Four women and six men, allegedly members of an anti-monarchy group named “Banpodj,” were sentenced on lese majeste charges for sharing hundreds of video and audio clips on the net between January and March.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha who grabbed power by a coup last May said that he would enforce lese majeste laws which aim to deter people from defaming the monarchy by applying the toughest sentences in the world.

The group was also prosecuted under the Computer Crimes Act, which was passed in Thailand in 2007. Under the act, every single violation of the law carries a sentence of up to five years in jail.

"The group produced more than 400 video and audio clips since 2009 that  insult or threaten the king, queen or heir apparent and thus are considered defamatory  and a threat to national security," a judge said in passing sentence.

Thai police called the group a serious threat for the nation’s stability and monarchy, claiming that it brings “chaos and hatred in society.”

Eight members of the group were initially sentenced to 10 years in prison while others got six years. According to the judge trying the case, the defendants’ charges were halved because they confessed to their crimes.

Since the military coup, 51 people have been charged for insulting monarchy under the lese majeste law.

In March, a man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sharing images which humiliate the Thai monarchy on his Facebook account.

TRTWorld and agencies