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Thai activist jailed for more than two years after posting anti-royal BBC article on Facebook

Reuters - August 16, 2017

A Thai student activist has been jailed for more than two years for posting a BBC article deemed offensive to Thailand's King on Facebook, his lawyer said.

An activist and critic of the ruling junta, Jatupat Boonpattaraksa who is also known as Pai was the first person to be charged under the country's harsh lese majesty law after new King Maha Vajiralongkorn formally ascended the throne in December.

Mr Jatupat, a former law student, was arrested on December 3 and charged for posting a BBC Thai language profile of the King.

He was also charged with violating a computer crime law for posting a link to the report, which was shared by more than 2,000 people.

He pleaded guilty to the charges against him earlier on Tuesday, prompting the court to bring forward its verdict.

"The court sentenced Pai to five years in prison, reduced to two-and-a-half years," Kissandang Nutcharat, Mr Jatupat's lawyer, told Reuters. "Pai confessed... He knew that if he tried to fight the charges it would not be of any use."

A representative for the BBC in Thailand said he could not immediately comment on the verdict.

In May, Mr Jatupat was given a prestigious human rights award whose previous recipients include Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi and East Timor's Xanana Gusmao. His parents accepted the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights on his behalf, as well as the $US14,000 in prize money.

Source: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-08-15/thai-activist-jailed-for-more-than-two-years-after-posting-antiroyal-bbc-article-on-facebook/1693978.

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