Rights lawyer faces 150 years in jail for in­sult­ing roy­alty

New Straits Times - - World -

BANGKOK: A prom­i­nent Thai hu­man rights lawyer faces a prison term of up to 150 years if con­victed on 10 counts of royal defama­tion un­der Thai­land’s harsh royal in­sult law, the le­gal watch­dog Thai Lawyers for Hu­man Rights said yes­ter­day.

Prawet Pra­panukul, 57, pro­vided le­gal as­sis­tance to mem­bers of a po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion group, the United Front for Democ­racy Against Dic­ta­tor­ship, and served as le­gal coun­sel in a high-pro­file royal in­sult case.

He was de­tained in a raid on his home by po­lice and troops on the week­end.

Prawet ap­peared at a court here on Wed­nes­day and was charged with 10 counts of royal in­sult and three counts of break­ing Sec­tion 116 of Thai­land’s crim­i­nal code, the equiv­a­lent of sedi­tion.

“Prawet faces 10 counts of break­ing Ar­ti­cle 112, so that works out to up to 150 years in prison if he is found guilty,” Anon Nam­pha of Thai Lawyers for Hu­man Rights said.

“He also faces three sep­a­rate charges of break­ing Ar­ti­cle 116, which car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of seven years in prison for each of­fence.”

It was not clear what Prawet had writ­ten or said that led to his ar­rest and charges.

A spokesman for the mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment said he was un­able to com­ment on the case.

Thai­land’s mil­i­tary seized power from an elected civil­ian gov­ern­ment in a May 2014 coup.

Since then, the junta has de­tained hun­dreds of politi­cians, ac­tivists, jour­nal­ists and oth­ers ac­cused of in­volve­ment in an­ti­junta ac­tiv­i­ties. Reuters

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