Thai pro-democracy leader jailed over royal defamation

BANGKOK: A court in Thailand on Wednesday (May 8) sentenced a prominent pro-democracy activist to three years in jail for royal defamation.

Critics say the government has used the strict lese-majeste laws to silence dissent, prosecuting scores under the tough legislation that protects King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his family.

Panupong Jadnok (pic), 27, was among the leaders of 2020's youth-led demonstrations, which saw tens of thousands take to the streets to make unprecedented calls to reform the monarchy.

He was convicted for social media posts related to the king in 2020, a representative for Thai Lawyers for Human Rights told AFP.

"The Criminal court in Bangkok initially sentenced Panupong for four years in prison, but later commuted to three years thanks to his useful testimony," the representative said.

Panupong faces eight more charges under the kingdom's strict lese-majeste law.

If convicted, he could be jailed up to 15 years in prison per charge.

Panupong is among more than 150 activists who have been charged under Thailand's lese-majeste legislation, often referred to as "112" after the relevant section of the criminal code. - AFP

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