10 Years in Prison for Publishing Articles That Insulted the King of Thailand

So reports the Bangkok Post:

The 10-year prison sentence handed down to Voice of Taksin editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk for lese majeste crimes has prompted criticism from human rights groups worldwide….

[Somyot] was [convicted] of … publishing two articles in 2010 that were deemed insulting to the royal family….

The articles were written by former PM’s Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair under the pseudonym of Jit Polachan and were published in the February and March 2010 editions of the Voice of Taksin magazine.

The four-judge panel said readers would easily understand the articles referred to the King.

The information contained in the article, however, was incorrect and libellous and it was Mr Somyot’s duty to vet it, the court said.

I can’t tell from the story (or from a Reuters story I read on the subject) just what the alleged errors were, and in particular whether they were serious factual errors — the sort of thing that might be treated as criminal libel in some U.S. states even today — or just opinions that the court found incorrect. In any case, it appears from both the Bangkok Post story and the Thai story that the essence of the crime was the insult to the king, not just the alleged errors.

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