Thai woman awaits ruling in royal-insult case

Chiranuch Premchaiporn faces 20-year jail term for comments deemed insulting to monarch that were posted on her website.

    A Thai woman is facing 20 years in jail for comments posted online criticising the Thai king, who is revered as God in the Southeast Asian country.

    Chiranuch Premchaiporn, a web master, was initially arrested in 2009, charged with being too slow to remove 10 comments from a forum on her website.

    The postings were made by other people, but under tough computer crime laws enacted after the military coup in 2006, the website's host can also be prosecuted, Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay says from Bangkok.

    Chiranuch’s verdict was delayed by a month because the judge needed more time.

    The Thai royal family is, by law, above criticism. Anyone who is caught breaking the rules is more often than not, thrown in jail.

    Earlier this month, an elderly man died less than six months into a 20-year prison sentence for sending four text messages that were deemed insulting to the monarchy.

    The death of Amphon Tangnoppakul, also known as Uncle SMS, has shone a light on the country's strict lese majeste laws, legal stipulations which criminalise the violation of the royal family and which were designed to prevent criticism of them.

    Family members of prisoners, also a growing portion of the public, are trying to push for changes to the lese majeste laws.

    Yingluck Shinawtra, the Thai prime minister, admitted to Al Jazeera in a recent interview that the law is sometimes misused.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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