Man given 10 years for insulting Thai monarchy

April 4, 2009 07:31


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A Thai citizen was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison on charges of insulting the king and his family by posting edited photos of the monarchy on the Internet, a court said. Suwicha Thakho, 34, a former oil worker, was detained in January and admitted to altering the photos of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family, the Bangkok Criminal Court said. It did not say how the photos were changed or where they appeared, although local news reports said some appeared on YouTube. The court found Suwicha guilty of violating the country's lese majeste law, which prohibits insulting the king and his family, as well as the 2007 Computer Crime Act, which bars the circulation of material deemed detrimental to national security or that causes public panic. Reporters Without Borders condemned the sentence and called for Suwicha's immediate release. "The charge of lese majeste has become a major tool of repression in Thailand," the Paris-based press freedom group said in a statement. "The sentence passed on Suwicha Thakor violates online free expression and is out of all proportion to what he is alleged to have done."

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