NewsThailand court sends woman to 43 years in prison...

Thailand court sends woman to 43 years in prison for insulting the monarchy

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Bangkok (Thailand): Breaking all its previous records, the Criminal Court of Thailand on Tuesday sentenced a woman to over 43 years in jail for sharing clips deemed insulting to the monarchy.

According to Bangkok Post, the court had initially sentenced the woman to 87 years in jail, setting a new record for royal defamation prison terms. However, since she had confessed during the trial, her sentence was halved to 43 years and six months.

Earlier, she was detained for three years and nine months during the investigation before being allowed bail in 2018. That period would be deducted from the sentence when the case is closed.

Anchan (family name withheld) was arrested in 2015 for uploading clips on 26 occasions on YouTube and three times on Facebook during 2014-15, reported Bangkok Post.

The clips were voice recordings of a man known as Banpodj (pseudonym), a hardcore critic of the monarchy who had been active on YouTube and file-sharing websites before and shortly after the 2014 military coup.

Anchan was then also charged with violating the computer crime law.

A former C-8 government official in her 60s, Anchan had initially denied the charges but confessed during the trial after her case was transferred from the military court following the dissolution of the National Council for Peace and Order.

The court stated that by sharing the clips, Anchan enabled the public to view them.

She immediately appealed her heavy sentence but the court has said the Appeals Court would decide on her request.

Each charge of lese majeste (to do wrong to majesty) under Section 112 — insults, threats, or defamation of leading royals — carries 3-15 years in jail. The law was suspended for almost two years following its application in a case in 2018, before being revived in November last year.

Until now, the lese majeste with the heaviest jail term was 70 years imposed by the military court on a man for posting messages and images on 10 occasions in 2015. The man, too, had confessed and his sentence was halved, according to Bangkok Post. 

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