Thai Junta Defends Two Record Lese Majeste Sentences Handed Down by Military Courts
BANGKOK – Maj Gen Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak a Thai Junta spokesperson has defended the two record lese majeste sentences handed down on Friday, saying it was part of a general push for tougher law enforcement.
Maj Gen Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak said.”We are applying nothing new in terms of law enforcement, it’s just a matter of the previous administration neglecting to enforce the law properly.”
The first sentence was delivered on 7 August 2015, the Military Court of Bangkok sentenced Mr.Pongsak to 60 years imprisonment.
The court gave 10 years prison term to each of the six lese majeste counts he was charged with. Since the suspect pleaded guilty as charged, the court, however, halved the sentence to 30 years in jail.
The Second sentence according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), a military court in Chiang Mai, sentenced Miss Sasiwimol, a 29-year-old employee of a hotel in the province, to 56 years in jail for allegedly posting six lese majeste messages under the Facebook identity ‘Rungnapha Kampichai’ on the same day.
The military court gave 8 years jail term to each of the 7 lese majeste counts of the suspect. However, since the defendant pleaded guilty as charged, the court halved the jail term to 28 years.
Prior to the ruling, Sasiwimol submitted a letter to the court, requesting the judges to reduce the jail sentence because she has never committed any crime and is a mother of two daughters aged seven and five.
The military court judges dismissed the request and reasoned that the jail sentence is already light since case is severe because it is related to the revered Thai monarchy and gravely affected public sentiment of Thai people.
Since the coup, at least 51 people have been charged with lese majeste.
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