Thai military court sentences activist for defaming Crown

Bangkok, Jan 27 (IANS) A Thai military court on Friday sentenced an activist who pleaded guilty to defaming the Crown in a comment made on social networks to 11 years and four months in jail.

Military court sources confirmed to Efe news the sentence handed down to Burin Intin, who was arrested on April 27, 2016, during a protest in Bangkok against the military junta that has ruled the country since 2014.

The court found the defendant guilty of two counts of defamation of the monarchy and a cyber crime.

Burin Intin maintained his innocence from the time of his arrest until January 24, when he changed his plea to guilty.

“In the name of protecting the monarchy, the junta is strangling freedom of expression and fuelling a climate of fear across Thailand,” said Human Rights Watch’s Asia chief, Brad Adams.

The lese majeste law in Thailand carries sentences of up to 15 years in prison for those who broadcast messages about the Royal House that the authorities consider offensive.

Arrests for this crime have multiplied since the military coup of May 22, 2014.