Activist jailed for insulting Thai royals
BANGKOK: A Thai court sentenced an outspoken anti-coup activist to 18 years in prison yesterday on charges of insulting the monarchy in speeches during political rallies.
Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, 46, was charged with violating Thailand’s lese majeste law, which mandates a jail term of three to 15 years for anyone who “defames, insults, or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent”.
Charnchoengsilpakul, nicknamed “Da Torpedo” for her aggressive speaking style, has been detained without bail since July last year for making speeches deemed insulting to the monarchy at political gatherings.
Charnchoengsilpakul, a jounalist-turned-activist, was sentenced to six years in prison for three different remarks, said Judge Phrommaj Poosae.
“Although the defendant’s speeches did not have the intended effect because no one believed her, the defendant cannot escape her wrongdoing,” the judge said.
Dressed in an orange prison unifor m, she smiled and flashed a victory sign to cameras as she was escorted from the courtroom by guards. She will appeal the verdict.
The court closed the hearings to the public, citing national security and the sensitivity of the issue. Amnesty International and other human rights groups raised concerns that the trial would not be fair.
The case is tied closely to bitter division between supporters of the 2006 coup against for mer prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and Thaksin loyalists and anti-coup activists. – Sapa-AP