Two lѐse majesté convicts have been released on royal pardons after being imprisoned for almost two years.
The Bureau of the Royal Household of the Thai Monarchy recently approved the requests for royal pardons from an editor of the Thai E News website with the pseudonym ‘Somsak Pakdeedech’ and Pol Sgt Maj Prasit Chaisrisa, a former Member of Parliament (MP) for the Pheu Thai Party, who were both convicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lѐse majesté law.
According to iLaw, a human rights advocacy group, Somsak was set free in January 2016 after serving about 19 months of his prison term while Prasit was released on 25 March 2016 after being in jail for about 22 months.
The Military Court in November 2014 sentenced Somsak to nine years in prison under the lѐse majesté law for publishing in 2009 an article deemed defamatory to the Thai monarchy on the Thai E News website. The article was written Giles Ungpakorn, who is currently living in self-exile in the UK after being charged with a similar offence. The court, however, halved the jail term after Somsak pleaded guilty.
Prasit was initially sentenced by the Criminal Court to five years in prison for delivering a speech at the Imperial Lat Phrao shopping mall on 7 May 2014 with remarks deemed offensive to the monarchy. Again, the Criminal Court halved the sentence after he pleaded guilty.
Both Somsak and Prasit were detained in the aftermath of the 2014 coup d’état before they were indicted.