61-year-old gets 20 years for lese majeste

national November 24, 2011 00:00


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A raging debate kicked off on social network sites yesterday when a 61-year-old man was given a 20-year jail sentence for sending four text messages on his mobile phone, which the court considered as being defamatory to Her Majesty and the monarchy.


The court sentenced Amphon Tangnoppakul via video conferencing due to flooding, after it refused to accept his claim that he did not know how to use the text-message function as a valid argument.
The suspect is accused of having sent four defamatory text messages from his mobile phone last year to Somkiat Klongwattanasuk, secretary of then-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva. Amphon was arrested on August 3, 2010. 
According to iLaw, a local NGO that observed the trial, the court dismissed the argument that the defendant’s mobile phone was being repaired at the time the messages were allegedly sent out because he was unable to name the mobile-phone shop it was being fixed at. 
Meanwhile, many royalists were elated because they believed justice had been served, with some calling for even harsher punishment. 
Karnt Thassanaphak, a member of the Awareness 112 Campaign Group which is seeking to abolish the lese majeste law, said this reaction was shocking and doubted if Amphon was really guilty because he was known by his friends as being a royalist. 

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