Thai editor released from prison after 7 years
Bangkok: A Thai editor was released from prison on Monday after seven years of incarceration for two articles considered offensive to the monarchy, whose image is protected in the country under the lese majeste law.
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, 56, was jailed in 2011 after publishing two satirical texts in the now-shut down daily “Voice of Thaksin ” (of which he was editor) and who, according to Thai justice, insulted King Bhumibol who died in October 2016, reports Efe news.
During the trial, the editor testified that the pieces were written under a pseudonym by former local politician Jakrapob Penkair, who is in exile.
However, the judges rejected the argument and sentenced Somyot to 10 years in jail for violating article 112 of the Criminal Code for those who criticise or issue comments deemed insulting to the royal family.
For years, human rights groups have interceded with the authorities in favour of Somyot’s release.
Somyot left the Bangkok Remand prison where a large group of followers and pro-democracy activists were waiting outside.
Legal and Human rights group ILaw highlighted in an article published on social networks the lack of freedom of press and freedom of expression in the country.
Lese majesty cases have shot up since the military coup of 2014, which puts this type of crime under the jurisdiction of military courts, where the sentences are twice as severe as those issued by civil courts.