Today a Thai military court sentenced a man to prison for 25 years for posting pictures on his Facebook page deemed insulting to Thailand’s monarchy. In a closed-door court sentencing, Tiensutham Suttijitseranee, a 58-year-old businessman, was found guilty of posting defamatory content.
“The court decided that because he posted five pictures with captions last year that the court deemed defamatory, he would be sentenced to a total of 50 years; ten years for each picture posted, reduced by half to 25 years,” lawyer Sasinan Thamnithinan told Reuters, adding that the term was halved because Tiensutham pled guilty. The court did not allow his relatives and reporters to attend the verdict.
Thailand’s lese-majeste law is the world’s harshest and makes it a crime to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen or heir to the throne or regent. New Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha (Above), has repeatedly vowed to vigorously pursue royal insult cases and try those perceived to be anti-monarchists. He even had an elderly man jailed for 1-1/2 years this month for scrawling graffiti in a Bangkok shopping mall toilet.
Today Prayuth said he had asked for King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s (Above), 87, permission to lift martial law, which has been in place since before the coup 10 months ago, replacing it with a law that maintains the army’s wide-ranging powers.