Thai magazine editor sentenced to 10 years for insulting king

Thai magazine editor sentenced to 10 years for insulting king

PanARMENIAN.Net - A Thai magazine editor was jailed for 10 years on Wednesday, January 23 for insulting the royal family under the country's draconian lese-majeste law, Reuters said.

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, editor of "Voice of the Oppressed", a magazine devoted to self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was found guilty of publishing articles in 2010 defaming King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The articles criticized the role of a fictional character meant to represent the king, public prosecutors said in a July 2011 report. Discussions about the role of the monarchy are forbidden.

Somyot, who was jailed for an additional year on an unrelated defamation conviction, was arrested on the lese-majeste charge while Oxford-educated, pro-establishment Abhisit Vejjajiva was prime minister.

Current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin's sister, promised to amend the law during her 2011 election campaign but has rowed back on that since coming to office, causing divisions among her supporters.

Rights groups say the lese-majeste law is used by Thailand's powerful elite to silence political opponents, including supporters of pro-Thaksin groups.

The 85-year-old king, who has been in hospital since 2009, is seen by many in Thailand as a unifying, semi-divine father figure. National unease over what follows his reign has contributed to tensions in the country since before Thaksin was toppled by the military in 2006, leaving the country divided broadly between royalists and nationalists on the one side and Thaksin's mostly lower-class supporters on the other.

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