Thai media mogul charged with royal insult

Featured - July 11th, 2012

A Thai media mogul was accused of insulting the monarchy after quoting a member of the rival protest movement, and faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty, AFP reports.

The founder of the royalist Yellow Shirts, Sondhi Limthongkul, quoted parts of a protest speech by Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, of the working-class Red Shirts, back in 2008. According to his defence lawyer, Suwat Apipak, Sondhi “did not repeat all the words,” and he only meant to urge legal action against Daranee. Daranee, after making the comments at a series of political rallies four years ago, was charged with lese majeste and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The controversial lese-majeste laws are used to “protect” the royal family from activists and opposition amid political turbulence. An outraged public protested for reforms after a 60-year old man charged with lese-majeste died in prison. A Thai editor was also charged with royal insult when she refused to take down “offensive” posts in a news website.