An editor was last month sentenced to 11 years in prison, for “defaming” the country’s king. Geoffrey Cain reports on how Thailand’s lèse majesté laws have chilled free speech
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a Thai political activist and former editor-in-chief of the Voice of Taksin and Red Power partisan news magazines, was last week charged with two offences of lese majeste for two separate articles deemed critical of the royal family published in his now-defunct Voice of Taksin magazine. Lese majeste charges in Thailand carry up to 15-year jail terms and have been utilised for political purposes during the country’s protracted political conflict. If found guilty of both charges, Somyot, who has first arrested on 30April and held without bail in a Bangkok detention centre for 84 days (the maximum period allowed under Thai law), will face a possible 30 years in prison.