A Thai military court sentenced a businessman to 25 years in prison on Tuesday on charges of defaming the country’s monarchy in what appears to be the longest sentence handed down in recent years for the crime of lese majeste, a civil liberties lawyer said.
Yingcheep Atchanont of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Center said the court in Bangkok found Thiensutham Suthijitseranee guilty on five counts of lese majeste for postings he made on Facebook, and handed him a 10-year sentence for each count. It cut the total 50-year term in half because Thiensutham pleaded guilty to the charges.
Thailand’s lese majeste law is considered the harshest in the world, with those accused of defaming, insulting or threatening the monarchy facing jail terms ranging from three to 15 years on each count.
25 years in prison for saying things about people labeled majesty.
“The defendant insulted the beloved and revered Thai monarchy,” Prachatai quoted the judge saying. “The sentence handed down by the court is already light.”
After last year’s coup, the military decreed that any new cases of lese majeste would be tried in military courts, and that they could not be appealed. The military-installed administration declared defense of the monarchy a priority, and in addition to vigorously pursuing prosecutions at home, it has vowed to seek the return of critics abroad it considers to have insulted the monarchy.
Never forget Thailand.