Thai Court Sentences Man to 6-Year Jail Term for Royal Insult

Thailand’s Criminal Court sentenced a man to six years in jail for making comments on his Facebook page that were deemed an insult to the nation’s monarchy.

Piya Julkittipan was found guilty of breaking the lese-majeste law and Computer Crimes Act for insulting King Bhumibol Adulyadej in two Facebook posts between July and November last year, the court said in a statement. He plans to appeal.

Article 112 of Thailand’s criminal code mandates jail sentences as long as 15 years for defaming, insulting or threatening the king, queen, heir apparent or regent. Human Rights Watch said last month that use of the law had “reached the absurd” in Thailand, after a man was charged for allegedly insulting the king’s dog.

The military junta that seized control of Thailand in a May 2014 coup has made a priority of pursuing lese-majeste cases. It has shifted authority for the cases from civilian courts to military tribunals, where record sentences have been handed down since the coup, including an initial 60-year sentence for a man convicted of committing lese majeste in multiple Facebook posts.

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