Thai court reduces magazine royal insult sentence


 Reuters International

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, editor of "Voice of the Oppressed", a magazine devoted to self-exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, gestures as he walks near a prison cell at the criminal court in Bangkok January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

(reuters_tickers)

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's Supreme Court on Thursday reduced the sentence of a prominent former magazine editor who had been jailed for 10 years for insulting the country's monarchy, a legal group said.

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was found guilty of publishing two satirical articles defaming the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 2010 when he was editor of an anti-establishment magazine.

The royal insult law, also known as lese-majeste, is punishable by a jail term of up to 15 years for each offence.

Somyot was given two five-year jail terms for each article and one year for an unrelated defamation conviction.

The Supreme Court had cut the royal insult sentences to three years each, the legal watchdog Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said. He will still have about 14 months to serve.

The case drew a lot of diplomatic attention and the original sentence had been strongly condemned by the European Union.

"There is little reason to celebrate today because he should not have been in jail in the first place," said Andrea Giorgetta of the International Federation for Human Rights.

In December, Thailand's new King Maha Vajiralongkorn pardoned or commuted the sentences of up to 150,000 prison inmates, including some convicted under the lese-majeste laws.

(Reporting by Cod Satrusayang and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Nick Macfie)

Reuters

 Reuters International