Thai court reduces magazine royal insult sentence

Thai court reduces magazine royal insult sentence
Thailand's new King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun speaks as he accepts an invitation from parliament to succeed his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October, at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, December 1, 2016.
PHOTO: Reuters

Thailand's Supreme Court on Thursday reduced the sentence of a prominent former magazine editor who had been jailed for 10 years for insulting the country's monarchy, a legal group said.

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was found guilty of publishing two satirical articles defaming the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2010 when he was editor of an anti-establishment magazine.

The royal insult law, also known as lese-majeste, is punishable by a jail term of up to 15 years for each offence.

Somyot was given two five-year jail terms for each article and one year for an unrelated defamation conviction.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn proclaimed new king of Thailand

The Supreme Court had cut the royal insult sentences to three years each, the legal watchdog Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said. He will still have about 14 months to serve.

The case drew a lot of diplomatic attention and the original sentence had been strongly condemned by the European Union. "There is little reason to celebrate today because he should not have been in jail in the first place," said Andrea Giorgetta of the International Federation for Human Rights.

Read also: Top aide latest Thai palace official to fall from grace

In December, Thailand's new King Maha Vajiralongkorn pardoned or commuted the sentences of up to 150,000 prison inmates, including some convicted under the lese-majeste laws.


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