Thai man jailed for royal insult dies

Featured - May 8th, 2012

A Thai man who was jailed for lese-majesty, a law that protects the monarchy, has died in prison. Ampon Tangnoppakul, 60, was imprisoned for 20 years after sending text messages critical of the Queen to an official working for then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. He denied the claims saying that he didn’t even know how to send a text. He was brought to hospital suffering stomach pains but the cause of death is still being investigated. Ampon was later known as “Uncle SMS”, after his conviction received outrage and concern among rights groups including Amnesty International. Ampon’s lawyer said that the man had been hoping for a royal pardon. Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act and lese-majesty laws have been criticized for being highly politicized and curbing freedom of speech. Activists have called for reforms over the “royal insult” laws.