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Government adviser gets two years in jail for lese-majesty

File photo : Yossawaris

File photo : Yossawaris

A Criminal court on Thursday sentenced a leader of the2010 demonstrations and adviser to the current government to two years in jail for lese-majesty.



The Criminal Court found Yossawaris Chuklom guilty of committing lese-majesty in a speech he made March 29, 2010, at ananti-government protest led by the United Front for Democracy againstDictatorship (UDD) and sentenced him to two years in jail.

"I respect the court’s ruling, but I still maintain that I had nointention to violate the lese-majesty law," Yossawaris said. Lese-majesty is punishable by up to 15 years in jail.

Yossawaris’ lawyer put up Bt500,000 baht as bail, pending an appeal.

Yossawaris is an adviser to Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar, another former leader of the UDD movement, whose followers were better known as red shirts.

The 2010 protests in Bangkok led to bloody confrontations between authorities and demonstrators that left 92 dead.

Lese-majesty cases have increased sharply since a 2006 couptoppled populist premier Thaksin Shinawatra, leading to unprecedentedcriticism of the monarchy, military and bureaucracy.

In response, the lower courts have heard 397 lese-majesty casessince 2006, a 1,500-per-cent increase in the number of cases from1990 to 2005, according to David Streckfuss, author of a book on thelaw.


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