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Thailand Activist Sentenced to 28 Years for Criticizing the King on Social Media

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Thailand Activist Sentenced to 28 Years for Criticizing the King on Social Media

(CTN News) – On Thursday, a Thailand court sentenced a 27-year-old political activist to 28 years in prison for posting messages on Facebook that the court found to have insulted the nation’s monarchy.

Meanwhile, two young women accused of the same offense kept up their hunger strike even after being admitted to the hospital.

Mongkhon Thirakot was found guilty of breaking the lese majeste legislation in 14 out of the 27 postings for which he was detained in August by a court in the northern province of Chiang Rai. The legislation covers the present king, his queen, his heirs, and any regent.

For insulting the monarchy, the lese majeste legislation carries a jail sentence of three to fifteen years, but detractors claim it is often used to stifle political criticism.

Beginning in 2020, student-led pro-democracy demonstrations publicly challenged the monarchy, which was previously prohibited. This prompted stern legal action, which was previously very sometimes taken.

At least 228 people, including 18 minors, have been charged with breaking the law since November 2020, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, a legal aid organization, even as the protest movement waned due to arrests and the challenges of holding demonstrations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Chiang Rai court determined that 13 posts by online apparel retailer Mongkhon Thirakot did not break the law since they were about the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the father of the present King Maha Vajiralongkorn, or they were general.

For each of the remaining 14 posters, Mongkhon Thirakot was found guilty and given a sentence of three years in jail.

Due to Mongkhon Thirakot’s cooperation with the court, the entire jail sentence was lowered from 42 years to 28 years, a one-third reduction.

Mongkhon Thirakotwas permitted to be released on bail while his conviction was appealed, with the proviso that he not harm the monarchy or leave the nation.

Due to a hunger strike by two female activists accused of the crime, prosecutions for lese majeste have lately received more public attention.

Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon and Orawan “Bam” Phupong, who had been released on bail, said earlier this month that they were rescinding their parole and returning to jail in support of other people being detained awaiting trial for the same offense.

They submitted demands that included the abolition of laws like the lese majeste statute, the court system reform, the release of political prisoners, and the restoration of civil freedoms.

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Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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