Military court breaks record with 35-year jail term for lèse majesté

A military court has handed a 35-year jail term to a man accused of creating a copycat Facebook profile and posting lèse majesté messages on it to take revenge on his friend.

The previous longest sentence for lèse majesté was 30 years (reduced from 60) which was passed on Phongsak S. on 7 August 2015 by the Bangkok Military Court for comments he posted on Facebook.

On 9 June 2017, the Military Court of Bangkok sentenced Wichai T. to 70 years in prison for offences under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.

Wichai was indicted on 10 counts of lèse majesté for creating a copycat Facebook profile under the name of his friend-turned-enemy and posting 10 messages on it that were defamatory to the Thai monarchy.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the court initially gave Wichai seven years for each offence, but halved the total sentence to 35 years as he pleaded guilty.

Along with the lèse majesté law, he was also indicted under Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act for importing illegal content into a computer system.

He was arrested in December 2015 and has remained in custody since.

According to iLaw, Wichai at first denied the accusation and vowed to fight the case. However, he later recanted his testimony and pleaded guilty as fighting the case would be too lengthy.

He said that he faked the Facebook account to take revenge on his colleague who sold him a fake Buddha amulet, adding that he filed a complaint to the police about the fraud, but there had been no progress.

 

Read the previous story: Facebook user arrested for lèse majesté over copycat Facebook profile