Writer convicted of lèse majesté to face final verdict at Supreme Court

Bundit Aneeya, a 73-year-old freelance writer and translator, is to face the final verdict of the Supreme Court in his lèse majesté case in August. He was sentenced to four years in March 2006 for defaming the monarchy by distributing politics-related documents at an academic seminar. He is currently out on bail since the case has not reached the final judgement. 
 
He could face up two years and eight months in prison if the Supreme Court stands by the guilty verdict. 
 
The writer, who has written and translated over 30 books, was charged under Article 112 of the Criminal Code after Gen.Wassana Phermlarp, a former member of the Election Commission and General Secretary of the Anti-Money Laundering Office filed charges with the police in 2003, accusing him of making defamatory speeches at the seminar. 
 
After the criminal court put his sentence on hold due to his claim of psychosis, the Appeal Court later sentenced him to two years and eight months imprisonment. Bundit is currently out on bail. 
 
The Supreme Court will decide if it will overturn the verdicts of the criminal and appeal courts on August 21.
 
Article 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code states that whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, Heir-apparent or Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years. Prosecutions under this article increased 15 fold from 33 cases in 2005 to 478 cases in 2011. 
 
Five lèse majesté prisoners currently remain in prison. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, editor of Voice of Thaksin magazine who was sentenced to 15 years, Ekachai Honhkangwan, a 38-year-old man who sold Wikileaks documents and CDs of an ABC documentary, and Surachai Danwatthananusorn, leader of the Red Siam group, are still fighting their cases. 
 
Yuttapoom Martnok, charged by his own brother, is still in the trial process while female prisoner Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul has recently decided to withdraw her appeal and seek a royal pardon.