The criminal court on Thursday morning sentenced a mentally ill man to three years and four months in jail for sending to a lèse majesté blog a link to lèse majesté content.
Tanet (last name withheld due to privacy concerns) was found guilty of sending an email with a link to content deemed to defame the monarchy to the now-defunct Stop Lèse Majesté blog. This is the third case involving the blog, according to iLaw.
The blog was run by Emilio Esteban, whom the police identified as an Englishman residing in Spain.
The reading of the verdict and the trial were conducted in camera as the content of the case is sensitive to national security, the court reasoned.
During the deposition hearing, the defendant admitted sending the link, but did so when he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and submitted a doctor’s certificate as evidence of his illness.
Earlier Nat S. and Suwicha T. were found guilty of lèse majesté and under the Computer Crime Act on charges involving Esteban in 2009.
Suwicha was sentenced to 20 years in prison for allegedly joining Esteban in defaming the monarchy. The sentence was halved because he pleaded guilty. He served about a year in jail before receiving a royal pardon in 2010.
Nat was sentenced to nine years in jail for sending an e-mail to Esteban with content deemed lèse majesté. The police found Nat’s e-mail after hacking into Esteban’s e-mail account. However, the sentence was reduced by half since Nat pleaded guilty. Nat was granted early release in 2008 after serving about three years in jail.
The police stated on the custody petition for Tanet that they sought a court order to hack into Esteban’s email in 2010 and found an email from the suspect.
In the email, the suspect allegedly gave Esteban a link to an article deemed lèse majesté with a message “Can you post this web on your site for Thais to read? They need to read it. Thanks load.”
However, the police did not follow up the case against Tanet until 2 July 2014 when 10 military officers and plainclothes policemen raided his house and arrested him on the orders of the junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). During pre-charge detention at a military camp, Tanet admitted sending the email. On the sixth day of his detention, a court arrest warrant was issued. On the seventh day, the last day that martial law allows for detention without charge, the military transferred Tanet into police custody at the Technology Crime Suppression Division.
The Stop Lèse Majesté blog on BlogSpot no longer exists. Apart from advocating abolition of the law, the blog shared news of lèse majesté prisoners and content defaming the Thai monarchy.