Thai Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Jail for Insulting Monarchy on Facebook


By Kody Fairfield

Why is the First Amendment so important? Because it keeps you from being hurled into jail for 35 years over a Facebook post deemed insulting to Washington DC for starters.

In Thailand, a man named Vichai Thepwong has been arrested and sentenced to 35 years in prison for his reportedly insulting Facebook post about the country’s monarchy, reports Channel News Asia (CNA).

The 34 year old former insurance salesman allegedly posted ten messages and images on Facebook deemed, by the government, to be insulting to the monarchy.

Thepwong was initially charged with 70 years, but his decision to plead guilty to 10 separate violations led to the penalties being halved, reports CNA.

iLaw, a Thai legal monitoring group, explained that since seizing power, via a coup e’tat, three years ago, the military run government has brought cases against 73 people under the royal defamation law.

“This is the longest sentence for Article 112 verdicts ever recorded,” iLaw said, referring to the section of the criminal code dealing with insults to the monarchy, according to CNA.

Thepwong’s lawyer has said that the gentlemen has been locked away since his conviction, and will not appeal against the court’s verdict.

“He wants the case to end, and wants to petition for a royal pardon,” said Khumklao Songsonboon, who works for Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

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