Thai student activist was jailed for two and a half years on Tuesday for posting on Facebook, a BBC article deemed offensive to Thailand’s king, his lawyer said.
Jatupat Boonpattaraksa, also known as Pai, an activist and critic of the ruling regime, was the first person to be charged with royal insult, known as lese-majeste after the king ascended the throne.
The new King Maha Vajiralongkorn, formally ascended the throne on Dec. 1, following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Boonpattaraksa, a former law student, was arrested on Dec. 3 and charged for posting a BBC Thai language profile of the king which some deemed offensive.
He was also charged with violating a computer crime law for posting a link to the BBC report, which was shared by more than 2,000 people.
He pleaded guilty to the charges against him earlier on Tuesday, prompting the court to bring forward its verdict.
“The court sentenced Pai to five years in prison, reduced to two and a half years,’’ Kissandang Nutcharat, Jatupat’s lawyer, told Reuters.
“Pai confessed he knew that if he tried to fight the charges it would not be of any use.’’
A representative for the BBC in Thailand said he could not immediately comment on the verdict.
Thailand’s military government took power after a 2014 coup against a democratically elected government.
Since then, the detention of people accused of royal insult has increased sharply.
Last week, a man was jailed for 18 years for posting six video clips deemed insulting to the monarchy.
International rights groups have accused the authorities in Thailand of using broad laws to silence critics.
Source: The Punch
Send your press release/articles to: