Man gets suspended jail term for defaming ancient queen

A court in northern Thailand has handed a one-year suspended jail term to a man who posted a Facebook message deemed defamatory to a queen of an ancient kingdom in northern Thailand.

On 25 April 2017, the Provincial Court of the northern Province of Lamphun sentenced Songpol Phoommesri, 23, to one year in prison and a fine of 5,000 baht for violating the Computer Crime Act (CCA).

The court, however, suspended the jail term for two years because Songpol pleaded guilty. The judge also put him on probation for a period of one year. Since the jail term is suspended, he will not be imprisoned.

Songpol was indicted under Article 14 of the CCA, which forbids the importation of illegal information online, for posting a message on Facebook on February 2016 deemed defamatory to Queen Camadevi, who is believed to be the 7th century founder of the Hariphunchai Kingdom whose capital was the present day Lamphun.

After he posted the message on his Facebook account, a group of local people in Lamphun filed a complaint against him, accusing him of using obscene language to defame the queen, who is widely revered in Lamphun.

The statue of Queen Chammathewi at Chammathewi Temple in Lamphun (Photo from AcademicThai)

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