A young Thai man is imprisoned for decades because he is said to have insulted the king. Human rights activists speak of a record punishment.
An appeal court in Thailand has sentenced a political activist to 50 years in prison for lese majeste. The human rights organization Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said 30-year-old Mongkhon Thirakot received the record sentence because of several Facebook comments in which he is said to have defamed the king.
In total, the proceedings involved 27 Facebook posts that the defendant is said to have written between March and April 2021. Mongkhon Thirakot’s request to remain free pending the Supreme Court’s decision was rejected, it said.
According to lawyers, it is the highest sentence ever imposed under the draconian Article 112. The controversial Lèse Majesté law imposes long prison sentences of up to 15 years for anyone who criticizes the King, Queen or other members of the Court practices.
Judgment made even tougher
Mongkhon Thirakot was individually convicted for almost all of his Facebook posts. The appeals court in the northern city of Chiang Rai even tightened the previous court’s verdict, which had imposed 28 years in prison last year.
Thailand punishes lese majeste more harshly than almost any other country. For a long time, the law was considered sacrosanct – until 2020. There were massive protests by the democracy movement, in which hundreds of thousands publicly called for a reform of the constitution and the monarchy. Since then, prosecutions have only increased.
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