65-year-old Thai woman sent to jail for record 43 years for insulting monarchy

A Thai court docket on Tuesday sentenced a 65-year-old woman to greater than 43 years in jail for sharing on-line posts criticizing the royal household, her lawyer mentioned, the nation’s harshest ever sentence for insulting the monarchy.

Her sentence comes at a time of unprecedented youth-led demonstrations by which protest leaders have brazenly criticised the monarchy, risking prosecution underneath Thailand’s strict regulation generally known as lese majeste, which carries a 15-year penalty for every violation.

Anchan Preelert pled responsible to 29 separate violations of sharing and posting clips on YouTube and Fb between 2014 and 2015, her lawyer, Pawinee Chumsri, instructed Reuters.

Anchan was initially sentenced to 87 years however as a result of she had acknowledged her violations the court docket halved this, the lawyer mentioned.

“That is the best jail sentence ever in a lese majeste case,” mentioned Pawinee, who’s from the Thai Attorneys for Human Rights group.

Anchan, who couldn’t be reached for remark, can enchantment the sentence at two greater courts, Pawinee mentioned.

Amnesty Worldwide expressed dismay over what two Thai rights teams additionally mentioned was the longest ever sentence in Thailand for insulting the monarchy.

Safety officers raided Anchan’s home in January 2015, months after a civilian authorities was overthrown in a navy coup.

Her case, which was initially introduced earlier than a navy court docket, was transferred to a civilian court docket after a 2019 basic election, which noticed former junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha keep on as prime minister.

No less than 169 folks have been charged with lese majeste within the aftermath of the 2014 coup, in accordance to the attorneys’ rights group, with some circumstances taking years to course of.

Authorities briefly stopped utilizing the lese majeste regulation in 2018 however police began to invoke it once more late final yr after leaders of the protests, which drew tens of hundreds of individuals, started brazenly criticising the monarchy.

Since November, greater than 40 youth activists have been charged underneath the regulation. None of these circumstances has been introduced to trial.

On Monday, one other man arrested in 2014 was sentenced to greater than 4 years in jail after publishing articles and poems on-line that the court docket mentioned contained falsehoods in regards to the monarchy.

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