Former ‘Red Shirt’ guard sentenced to 6 years for lèse majesté, computer crimes
A former guard for Thailand’s anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), better known as the “Red Shirts”, Sombat Thongyoi, has been sentenced to six years in prison without suspension for lèse majesté and computer crimes, for posting one of the King’s remarks in late 2020 and other comments about His Majesty on Facebook. A bail application has been submitted.
The Bangkok South Criminal court ruled yesterday (Thursday) that Sombat’s actions, in which he quoted King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s well-known encouragement to one of his supporters but with the news of Thammasat University students refusing to attend their graduation ceremony, presided over by His Majesty, to be mockery and an insult.
Sombat’s other two Facebook posts, which commented on the King’s physical greetings to his supporters, have also been ruled by the court to be false and defamatory to the monarch.
The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) confirmed to Thai PBS World today that a bail bond of 300,000 baht has been posted for the release of the 53-year-old activist, as the case is advance to the Appeals Court, pending the court’s approval.
Sombat has become the latest person to be imprisoned for committing acts of lèse majesté. A number of other anti-establishment activists have been convicted and jailed for similar offences in Thailand.