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Thai singer sentenced to 4 years for burning King’s portrait

PHOTO: Matichon

The popular Thai singer Ammy the Bottom Blues has been handed a 4-year jail sentence for setting fire to a portrait of HM the King of Thailand in 2021.

Ammy, whose real name is Chaiyamon Kaewwibunphan, was charged with violating 3 laws, including the lèse-majesté law, which prohibits criticising, defaming, or otherwise insulting the Thai monarchy. He was charged alongside fellow political activist Thanapat Kapeng.

Yesterday, May 27, the Criminal Court ruled that Chaiyamon and Thanapat had violated sections 112 and 217 of the Criminal Code, as well as section 14 of the Computer Crimes Act.

Section 112 of the Criminal Code is more commonly known as the lèse-majesté law, while section 217 prohibits setting fire to other people’s belongings. Section 14 of the Computer Crimes Act prohibits the entering of inappropriate information into a computer system.

The court ruled that both activists violated all 3 laws by setting fire to a portrait of the king outside Klong Prem Prison during a political protest in 2021. The court determined this was an “act of malice” and an insult to the monarch, adding that by posting images of the act to a public audience on Facebook, Chaiyamon had affected national security.

Thanapat was slapped with a 2-year prison term, while Chaiyamon was sentenced to 4 years. Lawyers for both have applied for bail, according to a Nation Thailand report.

Meanwhile, the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights says up to 272 people have been charged under the lèse-majesté law, in 303 cases between November 24, 2020 and May 10 of this year.

These include MP Chonticha Jaengraew of the opposition Move Forward Party, which won the most seats in last year’s general election, and 38% of the primary vote, but was blocked from forming a government.

Yesterday, Chonticha was sentenced to 2 years in prison for violating section 112. At the time of writing, she is out on bail.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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