NewsThai man slapped with record 50-year sentence for royal defamation on social media

Thai man slapped with record 50‑year sentence for royal defamation on social media

Mongkol Thirakot
Mongkol Thirakot
Images source: © X | @TLHR2014, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights
6:53 AM EST, January 19, 2024

As the Reuters agency reports, a man from Thailand is staring down a 50-year sentence for maligning the monarchy—information confirmed by his lawyer. Mongkol "Busbas" Thirakot, an online clothing vendor from the northern province of Chiang Rai in Thailand, was originally sentenced to 28 years in prison by a criminal court last year. However, a ruling by the appellate court on Thursday extended his sentence by 22 years, citing many violations. This resulted in a record total of 50 years of prison sentences for monarchy defamation.

Defaming the King in Thailand, as referenced in article 112 of the criminal code, earns up to 15 years imprisonment for each found violation, reports Reuters. With King Maha Vajiralongkorn at the helm, this stiff penalty shields the royal palace from criticism. International human rights defense groups condemn such high penalties.

Mongkol, who was handed a 50-year sentence, was arrested in April 2021. In January 2023, he was given a 28-year sentence for 14 lese majesty offenses. The appeal court confirmed his earlier conviction and found him guilty of 11 violations. According to Mongkol's lawyer, Theeraphon Khoomsap, who spoke to Reuters, "He faces a 50-year sentence, the longest in the history of cases from article 112."

The lawyer further disclosed that his client refutes any offenses and is contemplating an appeal to the Supreme Court. According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, a legal aid group, no less than 262 individuals in Thailand have been charged with lese majesty crimes since 2020.

Source: Reuters

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