Thai Red Shirt jailed for insulting monarchy

AP News
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Posted: Feb 28, 2012 5:07 AM
Thai Red Shirt jailed for insulting monarchy

A Thai court has sentenced a member of the Red Shirt political movement to 7 1/2 years imprisonment for remarks judged to have insulted the country's monarchy.

The court ruled Tuesday that 70-year-old Surachai Danwattananusorn made speeches against the monarchy three times in 2010.

Surachai was a communist insurgent in Thailand in the 1970s and was imprisoned in the 1980s. More recently he has led a faction of the Red Shirts, who that took to the streets and clashed with the military in 2010.

Thailand's lese majeste law has come under increasing criticism as a violation of free speech. It provides for a jail term up to 15 years for anyone who "defames, insults, or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent, or the regent."