Thai court sentences web editor to jail for anti-monarchy comments

A Thai court has sentenced an online editor to jail for allowing posts which were critical of the monarchy on her website.

The sentence had been suspected after an outcry about the law and calls to reform it.

Chiranuch Premchaiporn was found guilty of failing to speedily delete comments by other people which were deemed insulting to the royal family on the news website, Prachatai.

She was fined about £500 and sentenced to eight months in jail.

Judge Kampol Rungrat suspended the sentence for a year, saying that Premchaiporn had “never violated the law herself”.

He said that while the defendant cannot deny responsibility for taking care of content on her website, she did give “useful” evidence.

Premchaiporn faces a further charge of breaching section 112 of the Thai criminal code which outlaws insults to the royal family and allows for a maximum 15-year sentence for every conviction.

But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the case has sparked a fierce debate in Thailand.

Authorities are apparently suing the strict “lese majeste” law against defaming the royal family to stamp on anyone who criticises the government.

A petition signed by almost 27,000 people urging reform was submitted to parliament in the first mass action of its kind in the country.