Ex-stockbroker jailed 6 yrs for lese majeste Facebook posts

Ex-stockbroker jailed 6 yrs for lese majeste Facebook posts

The Criminal Court on Wednesday sentenced a man to six years in jail for lese majeste after finding him guilty of making Facebook posts deemed to have defamed the monarchy.

Prosecutors filed a lawsuit against Piya Jullakittiphan, 46, accusing him of repeatedly posting two self-captioned photos of His Majesty the King on Facebook under the name of Pongsathorn Banthorn (Siamaid) between July 27 and Nov 28, 2013.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights described Piya as a former stockbroker who was first arrested in December 2014 and has been in custody ever since.

The posts were made in the Thung Song Hong area in Bangkok's Laksi district, Samut Prakan's Phra Pradaeng district, Muang district of Nakhon Pathom, Muang district of Nan and another location outside the country.

He was charged with violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code and Section 14(3)(5) of the Computer Crime Act.

Information from the prosecution's witnesses led the court to believe that Piya had opened a Facebook account in the name of Pongsakorn Banthorn with intent to conceal his real identity.

The court initially sentenced him to nine years in prison. That term was reduced to six years because he provided useful information during the trial.

Piya said he would consult his lawyer to lodge an appeal.

As of early December, at least 61 people have been prosecuted for lese majeste since the coup, according to local human rights group iLaw.

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