RWB on Suwicha’s sentencing

4 04 2009

Internet user gets ten years in jail for posting content that “defamed” monarchy (3 April 2009):

Reporters Without Borders condemns the 10-year jail sentence which a criminal court in the northeast Bangkok district of Ratchada imposed today on Suwicha Thakor for posting content online that was deemed to have insulted the monarchy. Thakor has been held in Bangkok’s Klong Prem prison since 14 January.

“The charge of lese majeste has become a major tool of repression in Thailand,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The sentence passed on Suwicha Thakor violates online free expression and is out of all proportion to what he is alleged to have done. We call for his release and we urge the government to amend this law, which is being abused in an unacceptable manner.”

Thakor’s lawyer said he was accused of posting photos, videos and comments online which, according to the court, defamed the monarchy. He was found guilty on two counts under the lese majeste law and one count of causing “offence” under the Computer Act. The court gave him a 10-year jail term for each of the first two counts, for a total of 20 years but, as he pleaded guilty, this was halved.

Thakor said in court, after the verdict : “I am ill… I need help… I have three children.” Alluding to his father, wife and three children, he added : “I must remain in prison for 10 years, but there are five people who are dying.


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