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

A Thai courtroom 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 through which protest leaders have overtly criticised the monarchy, risking prosecution beneath 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, advised Reuters.

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

“This is the highest prison 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 attraction the sentence at two larger 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 army coup.

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

Not less than 169 folks had been charged with lese majeste within the aftermath of the 2014 coup, in accordance to the legal professionals’ 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 1000’s of individuals, started overtly criticising the monarchy.

Since November, greater than 40 youth activists have been charged beneath 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 courtroom mentioned contained falsehoods concerning the monarchy.

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