Rights lawyer faces up to 150 years in prison

Rights lawyer faces up to 150 years in prison

Human rights lawyer Prawet Prapanukul faces up to 150 years in prison if convicted on 10 counts of lese majeste, legal watchdog Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said on Thursday.

Mr Prawet, 57, has previously provided legal assistance to members of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, and served as legal counsel in a high-profile lese majeste case. 

He was detained in a raid on his home by police and troops last weekend. 

Mr Prawet appeared in  Bangkok Criminal Court on Wednesday and was charged with 10 counts of lese majeste and three counts of breaching Section 116 of the Criminal Code, the  equivalent of sedition. 

"Prawet faces 10 counts of breaking Article 112, so that works out to up to 150 years in prison if he is found guilty," Anon Nampha of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights told Reuters. 

"He also faces three separate charges of breaking Article 116, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison for each offence." 

A spokesman for the military government said he was unable to comment on the case. 

The lawyers' group said Mr Prawet was charged along with five  others, who also faced charges under the lese majeste law. 

He is in pre-trial detention at Bangkok remand prison after being held incommunicado at the 11th Army Circle base in Bangkok, a facility the military uses as a temporary prison. 

The court granted the police request to further detain all six until May 14, local media reported.

The identities of the other five were not released. One was identified only as Danai.

Mr Prawet is accused of posting 10 messages insulting the monarch and three messages with content believed to instigate social disorder, police told the court. The suspect denied the allegations.

Mr Danai denied similar accusations, but the details of alleged wrongdoings were not outlined in the police submission, the reports said.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said this raised questions about the police request to detain Mr Danai.

Three of another four suspects admitted they shared messages of Thammasat University historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul on Facebook pages, which concern the controversial disappearance of the 1932 Siamese Revolution plaque from the Royal Plaza.

The other suspect denied the accusations.


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