Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Royal Shaft in Bangkok

Editor gets 10 years in jail for Thai royal insult

Jan 23 2013 
BANGKOK (AP) — A prominent Thai activist and magazine editor was sentenced to a decade in prison Wednesday for defaming Thailand's monarchy, a verdict rights groups condemned as the latest affront to freedom of expression in the Southeast Asian country.

Somyot Pruksakasemsuk was convicted of publishing two articles in an anti-establishment magazine that made negative references to the crown.
The verdict came despite repeated calls by rights groups to free Somyot, who has been jailed since 2011. It also underscored the harsh nature of Thailand's lese majeste laws, which critics say have frequently been used by politicians to silence rivals.
The articles were published under a pseudonym in Somyot's now-defunct Voice of Taksin magazine, which he launched in 2009 to compile political news and anti-establishment articles from writers and contributors.
Judges found both articles included content that defamed the royal family and argued that Somyot, as a veteran editor, was aware of that. The court handed down two five-year jail terms — one for each story.
Somyot "should have better judgment than ordinary journalists. He must have understood that the articles contained lese majeste content, but chose to publish them anyway," one of judges said in the ruling.
Somyot said he would appeal the verdict but would not seek a royal pardon.

The man of Siam

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