Man sentenced to 15 years in jail for lèse majesté

Ubon Ratchathani Court on Thursday sentenced a man to 15 years in jail for posting messages deemed lèse majesté on Facebook. The court initially sentenced him to 30 years, but since the defendant pleaded guilty, the sentence was reduced by half, iLaw reported.   
The man, whose first name begins with P and last name begins with T, was found guilty on nine counts for nine comments insulting the King, Queen and the Crown Prince on Facebook between July 2011 and March 2012. He was convicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code or the lèse majesté law and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act. 
For the offences under Article 112, the court sentenced the defendant to three years’ imprisonment for each count. For the offences under the Computer Crime Act, the court sentenced the defendant to four months in jail for each count. In total, the defendant was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment (27 years under Article 112 and three years under the Computer Crime Act)
The comments were posted under three Facebook accounts with false names. 
According to Prawes Prapanukul, the lawyer representing the defendant, the police used a Facebook account with a picture of a good-looking woman as a decoy to get him to reveal personal information and talk on the phone with the woman. He believes this was the case because a transcript of the phone conversation was presented as evidence.   
The defendant is a musician and native of Ubon Ratchathani Province. Ubon Ratchathani police and the police from the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) raided his house, arrested him and confiscated electronic devices in March 2012. Because the defendant claimed to be suffering from mental illness, the police later suspended the case to allow the defendant to be cured. However, the case proceeded rapidly after the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) summoned him on 13 June 2014.