2 men sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for attempting to burn royal arch

A provincial court has handed down jail terms of two and a half years to 2 suspects accused of royal defamation for attempting to burn a royal arch.  

On 15 November 2017, the Provincial Court of Phon District in Khon Kaen Province sentenced Nuphin, 64, and Chatchai, 25, (surnames withheld due to privacy concerns) each to five years imprisonment, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).  

The two were indicted for violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, criminal association, and destruction of public property for attempting to burn down an arch erected in Khon Kaen in honour of the late King Bhumibol.

As the two pleaded guilty, the court halved the jail term to two years and six months. The court also confiscated a pickup truck from the two.

According to Nuphin, he was hired by a man named Pricha to burn an unidentified structure at a specific location in the province and was told to invite another person for the task. Therefore he invited Chatchai.

When he arrived at the location, he discovered that it was a royal arch with the image of King Bhumibol. Therefore, he changed his mind and drove back to his house.

The two are among the eight suspects including a 14-year-old who are accused of being involved in the burning.

The eight, including the teenager, were arrested on 17 May and held incommunicado at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok for six days.

The six other suspects have pleaded guilty to destroying public property, but denied criminal association and lèse majesté.

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