Military sentences, editor, global anti-coup websites, 9 years in jail for lèse majesté

Thai E News, is not your ordinary website news, as since it stated, some 10 years ago, readership has hit 10s of millions. The site, is mostly about Democracy, Liberty and Justice, and is not affiliated with any side on Thai politics, having criticized, just about everyone and every side. The site is popular among red-shirt Internet users.

The website, plays a central point, for Thais who resides, in Thailand and globally, who are anti-coup, and again, struggling for Democracy, Liberty and Justice in Thailand. The website, is the parent, of a string of similar name websites, but registered, in many countries globally.

International Commission of Jurists made a statement last week, that Thailand must end immediately the prosecution of civilians in military tribunals and transfer all remaining cases to the civilian courts, said the International Commission of Jurist.

And the European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Thailand

Bangkok, 14 November 2014 – The EU is committed to promoting and protecting the freedom of opinion and expression worldwide. The EU Delegation wishes to express its concern over the increasing misuse of criminal defamation laws in Thailand. The EU believes that defamation laws should not be misused to censor criticism and debate concerning public issues as this constitutes a serious threat to Freedom of Expression. Recent cases brought against Human Rights Defender Andy Hall, journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian from the “Phuketwan” newspaper, and the freelance journalist Andrew Drummond, have served to demonstrate how criminal defamation laws are vexatiously used to silence freedom of expression and investigative journalism in the country. The EU would like to appeal to State authorities to fully abide by their international obligations. As part of wider reform in Thailand, we urge the National Reform Council to address this issue, so that criminal defamation laws cannot in the future be used as a means of silencing legitimate analysis or debate.

The following is from Prachathai (Source)

Military court sentences website editor to 9 years in jail for lèse majesté

Submitted by editor1 on Mon, 24/11/2014 – 12:49

The military court on Monday sentenced a website editor to nine years in jail for publishing an article deemed to defame the King on a popular anti-establishment news aggregator. The sentence was halved because the defendant pleaded guilty.

The man, whose penname is Somsak Pakdeedech, oversees the content on the Thai E-News website, which mainly aggregates political news from various sources, including Prachatai. The site is popular among red-shirt Internet users.

Last week, the military court sentenced a red-shirt podcast programme host to 10 years in jail for lèse majesté.

On Friday morning, the defendant pleaded guilty before the military court during the deposition hearing.

The content which led to the charge is an article by Ji Ungpakorn, a former Chulalongkorn University political scientist who has lived in self-exile in the UK since 2009. The article was published on the website in 2009

The court ruled that he was guilty under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to 9 years in jail, but since he pleaded guilty, the sentence was reduced by half to four years and six months in jail.

“The verdict didn’t surprise me. Personally, I think everything will change. I’m not allowed to talk but … We shall overcome,” the defendant told Prachatai.

Although the website has been blocked by the Information and Communication Technology Ministry, the website still operates normally.

Somsak was arrested during a military raid at his house on 25 May.

This is the second lèse majesté verdict handed down by a military court.

On 18 November, the military court on Tuesday sentenced the red-shirt host of a political podcast programme to 10 years in jail for defaming the King on his programme, but since the defendant pleaded guilty, the court reduced the sentence by half to five years in jail.

The civilian criminal courts have normally sentenced defendants to between three and five years for each count of lèse majesté, but in these two cases the military court gave nine to 10 years for a single count.

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