Thai Radio Host Jailed: Web Radio Host In Jail Over Royal Insult

November 18, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A Thai web radio host was jailed and sentenced to spend 5 years behind bars for insulting the country’s monarchy. Kathawut Boonpitak, who hosted a web radio show abroad, was found guilty of violating the lèse majesté law, which is put in place to prevent people from criticizing King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 86, and his family.

Thai radio host jail

Thai radio host jailed for insulting monarchy, story goes viral. A web radio host by the name of Kathawut Boonpitak, has been sentenced to 5 years in jail for violating the lèse majesté law.

Boonpitak, who hosted a web radio show abroad, was arrested in June as he returned to the country after a funeral. The commentator had been in military and police custody for the past 6 months and had been denied bail.

In March, Boonpitak made numerous comments about the country’s monarchy on his website. The 59-year-old Thai web radio host was dragged in front of military courts, where he was originally sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Sasinan Thamnithinan
, who works for the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Center, and who represented the web radio host, said the court had reduced his client’s jail term because he confessed to the crime. Thamnithinan told local media:

“Initially the military court sentenced him to 10 years in prison but as he confessed the judge halved the sentence to five years.”

The verdict delivered by the military courts can not be appealed by Boonpitak and his representative. Human rights groups have taken to the streets to protest the martial law, imposed by the army two days before the May 22 coup.

Thailand’s lèse majesté law is the world’s harshest, providing jail terms of 3 to 15 years for insulting the king, queen or heirs.

The law was put in place to punish people who defame, insult or threaten 86-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch who is ill.

Lèse majesté law, or Section 112 of Thailand’s criminal code:

is designed to protect the monarchy from insult, but academics say it has been politicized in recent years as the king’s reign enters its twilight. Many of those charged have been linked to the “Red Shirt” movement, whose activists are broadly supportive of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Below is a report on the Thai web radio host who will spend the next 5 years in prison.

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