Court sentences man posting lese majeste FB comments to 5 years in jail

Court sentences man posting lese majeste FB comments to five years in jail

The Criminal Court on Tuesday morning sentenced Akaradej (last name withheld due to privacy concerns) to five years in jail for his comments on a friend’s Facebook, but since the defendant pleaded guilty, the jail term was halved to two years and six months.  

The court found him guilty in one count under Article 112 of the Criminal Code (lese majeste law) and Article 3 and Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act (for posting messages deemed threats to national security on the computer system).  

“Analysing the behavior of the defendant which was an insult of the monarchy, greatly revered by all Thais. The act was publicising which anyone can access. The act of the defendant is a serious threat, so there is no reasons for suspension of the sentence,” said the judge.

On 18 June, more than 10 police officers arrested the 24-year-old undergraduate student in a raid on his dormitory at Mahanakorn University of Technology and confiscated several electronic devices. He has been detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison for five months since 20 June.

After the public prosecutor filed the case to the court on 11 September, the defendant was at first denied all allegations, but he later pleaded guilty during a “reconciliation talk” on 30 September.

The court ruled that the defendant used a Facebook username “Uncle Dom also loves the King” to post lèse majesté comments on the Facebook status of a friend.

Akaradej’s father has submitted 150,000-200,000 baht bail requests five times. The court, however, has never granted bail citing flight risk.

The case began after one of Akaradej’s Facebook friends, supposedly the owner of the Facebook status, filed a police complaint in March 2014.

Surapon, father of the defendant, told Prachatai that his son had an online quarrel with that Facebook friend over different political ideologies.  

 

Read related news: Lèse majesté suspect pleads guilty for posting FB comments defaming king