Two Thai activists have pleaded guilty to charges of insulting the country's monarchy in a play they produced about a student uprising four decades ago.

The two, a university student and a recent graduate pleaded guilty on Monday to the charges which carry a punishment of three to 15 years in prison.

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Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkong were involved in a play that was performed at Bangkok's Thammasat University in October 2013 and revolved around a fictional monarch and his adviser. "The Wolf Bride," was marking the anniversary of a successful 1973 anti-dictatorship uprising led by students.

The military-installed administration that took power from an elected government after a coup in May this year has made defending the monarchy a priority.

In addition to pursuing prosecutions, it has vowed to seek the return of critics abroad it considers to have insulted the monarchy.

Pawinee Chumsri, the lawyer for the two activists, said they pleaded guilty because they now realise the play had some inappropriate content and that they hope a guilty plea will help reduce their sentences, a common practice in criminal cases in Thailand.

The Rachada Criminal Court in Bangkok announced that the requests for suspended sentences made by the defendants, who were arrested in August, would be considered and verdicts announced on February 23.

Source: AP