Editor jailed for articles defaming royal family

A FORMER magazine editor has been jailed for ten years for insulting Thailand’s royal family.

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was yesterday found guilty of publishing articles defaming King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2010 when editor of a magazine devoted to self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

“The accused is a journalist who had a duty to check the facts in these articles before publishing them. He knew the content defamed the monarchy but allowed their publication anyway,” the judge said.

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The European Union delegation to Thailand said the case ran counter to the right to freedom of expression. Rights groups say Thailand’s lèse-majesté law is used by the elite to silence political oponents. “The law works against the long-term interests of the monarchy,” warned David Streckfuss, a Thailand-based expert. “To a society becoming more politically conscious, the trying of defendants seems arbitrary, petty and a violation of human rights.”