BANGKOK - Thailand on Monday sentenced two people to jail terms of 2-1/2 years for insulting royalty in a university play, amid a campaign by the ruling military junta to stamp out perceived insults to the monarchy.
The country is still under martial law following a May coup and the convictions come at a time of heightened anxiety over the health of the revered but ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 87, and the issue of royal succession.
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.
Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Porntip Mankong, 26, were convicted on one count each of lese-majeste, which can carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
"Both suspects did violate the 112 law and receive a five- year prison sentence ... reduced by half," a judge said in delivering the verdict, referring to the specific portion of the Thai penal code.
The term was cut because both admitted to the charges, the judge added.