human rights defenders

Thai court to rule on journalist case who ‘insulted’ king

ANTI-MONARCHY? Thai website editor web manager Chiranuch Premchaiporn is facing decades behind bars over reader comments about the monarchy. File photo from AFP.

A Bangkok court will rule on the fate of online news editor Chiranuch Premchaiporn who was charged with violating Thailand’s strict lese majeste and computer laws and face 20 years in prison if convicted. This case is closely watched as an innocent verdict could be interpreted as a strategic move towards more tolerance on expressions of freedom in the Internet. A guilty verdict, on the other hand, “would harm the already tarnished image of Thailand as a beacon of democracy in Southeast Asia,” an analyst said. The Thailand King is revered as a demigod by many Thais and criticizing him and his family are largely not tolerated. Several critics, including foreigners, have been put in prison over charges of defaming the king. 

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