Thailand’s Criminal Court on Wednesday sentenced a 61-year-old man to 20 years in jail for sending text messages deemed insulting the country’s revered monarch to a private secretary of former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The sentence was read via tele-conference as the defendant, Ampon Tangnoppakul, 61, did not appear to hear the court verdict due to inconvenience as the Bangkok Remand Prison where he is jailed is now flooded.
Mr Ampon was found guilty of four charges concerning insulting the monarchy and violating the 2007 Computer Act affecting national security.
The defendant was accused of using his mobile phone to send text messages with wording which was deemed to insult the monarchy to Somkiat Krongwattanasuk, a private secretary to former prime minister Abhisit, between May 9-22, 2010 from several locations.
Mr Ampon denied all charges, saying his mobile phone was broken and fixed at a shop in the Imperial Department Store’s Samrong branch.
He also said he did not know how to send the text messages, not know that the message recipient was Mr Abhisit’s secretary.
The court said, however, that the defendant’s testimony was without basis, as he failed to identify the shop where he claimed the telephone was serviced, while the investigation found that the mobile phone and SIM card belonged to Mr Ampon himself.
The court sentenced Mr Ampon to a five-year jail term for each charge, altogether 20 years. (MCOT online news)