Thailand’s apex court upheld a royal defamation conviction Wednesday against the editor of an online publication for failing to quickly remove comments from a reader who criticized the country’s monarchy, Agence France-Presse reported. Chiranuch Premchaiporn, editor of the Prachatai news website, was convicted in 2012 and received an eight-month suspended jail sentence and a 20,000 baht ($550) fine.
Chiranuch was initially charged for failing to remove the reader's comments posted on the website in 2008. Thailand's criminal court convicted her in 2012 after ruling she had not personally committed a crime under the country’s strict lese majeste laws, but noted that she took 20 days to remove the offending comment. Thailand's lese majeste, one of the strictest laws in the world, protects members of the country's royal family from insult or threat.
"I am disappointed with the verdict and I think the interpretation of the law has pushed a burden onto service operators," Chiranuch told AFP after the Wednesday’s ruling. Chiranuch's case caught worldwide attention and the Thai government was criticized for the editor's conviction.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, widely revered in the country, is protected by anti-defamation laws, which carry a sentence of up to 15 years. The International Federation for Human Rights estimated that at least 40 people have been arrested after the May 2014 military coup for lese majeste violations, of whom seven have been sentenced.
Earlier this month, it was reported that a Thai man might be jailed for 37 years for mocking the king's dog on social media.