Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Thai royal insult web designer free

A web designer has served three years in prison for insulting the Thai monarchy

A Thai web designer convicted of defaming the country's monarchy has been released from jail after receiving a pardon from the king.

Activist and academic Suda Rangkupan said Tanyawut Taweewarodomkul has been freed from Bangkok Remand Prison.

Tanyawut designed a website associated with Thailand's Red Shirt movement. He was convicted in 2010 of insulting the monarchy by posting defamatory comments against Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and allowing such comments to be posted.

Thailand's law protecting the monarchy from defamation, or lese majeste, is the world's harshest. It mandates a jail term of between three to 15 years.

Tanyawut was sentenced to 10 years for two counts of lese majeste and another three for violating Thailand's Computer Crime Act. The royal pardon came after he had served three years.

Tanyawut's lawyers had submitted a petition seeking the pardon last September.

The Red Shirts, mostly supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, called for fresh elections. Clashes between the demonstrators and security forces led to more than 90 deaths in Bangkok over nine weeks in 2010.

Mr Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and has been in self-imposed exile since being convicted in absentia on corruption charges. Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, his sister, rose to power in 2011 elections.

No details of Tanyawut's posts have been released.

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