Thai woman gets 43-year sentence for posting criticisms online against royal family

  • A Thai woman was sentenced to 43 years in jail for criticizing the royal family online
  • Anchan Preelert, a 65-year-old woman, received Thailand’s harshest ever sentence for insulting the monarchy
  • Thailand’s strict law known as lese majeste carries a 15-year penalty per violation for criticizing the royal family

A Thai woman was sentenced behind bars for sharing online criticisms against Thailand’s monarchy.

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A Thai court gave a 65-year-old woman 43 years in jail; the country’s harshest ever sentence for insulting the royal family. It was because she was found guilty of sharing online posts criticizing the royal family.

The woman named Anchan Preelert pleaded guilty to 29 separate violations of sharing and posting clips on YouTube and Facebook between 2014 and 2015. She was initially sentenced to 87 years but because she had admitted and pleaded guilty to her violations, the court agreed to halve her sentence.

“This is the highest prison sentence ever in a lese majeste case,” said Pawinee Chumsri, Preelert’s lawyer was quoted in an ABS-CBN report. The lawyer, who is also part of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group, revealed they plan to appeal the sentence at two higher courts.

The sentence came after Thailand witnessed youth-led demonstrations protesting against the monarchy. Anyone found guilty of criticizing the royal family will have to face Thailand’s strict law known as lese majeste, which carries a 15-year penalty for each violation.

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Back in 2014, at least 169 people were charged with lese majeste after a coup. Anchan was also among those charged as she was part of a group accused of uploading podcasts which questioned official accounts of the monarchy. The author of the podcasts served only two years in jail, and has already been released.

Authorities have briefly suspended using the lese majeste law in 2018 but due to protests against the monarchy in 2020, the law was upheld again.

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