Ten people have been jailed in Thailand for videos and audio recordings that were published by a supposed “anti-monarchy network.” The group was sentenced to five years apiece for releasing audio recordings and other media that the Thai government says defames the royal family.
The members were being charged for lèse majesté, a law under Thailand’s Section 112 of the Criminal Code that deems insulting the king, queen, heirs or regents an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison for each count, the AFP reported.
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The group of four women and six men also are being charged with computer crimes, a count more frequently associated with lèse majesté charges, because of the dissemination of the content online.
The 10 being charged are members of the “Banpodj Network,” a collective known for creating content that criticizes the Thai monarchy. Banpodj also has been criticized by academics and intellectuals with no association to the monarchy, Prachatai, a nonprofit online newspaper, reported earlier this year. Much of the criticism comes because Banpodj also spreads conspiracy theories and uses vulgar language that many see as sensationalist.
Eight members of the group were found “guilty of insulting the monarchy and publishing false information by computer,” one of the panel of three judges at the military court said. They were initially sentenced to 10 years in prison for their crimes. The other two were charged with “supporting” the remaining members and sentenced to six years. The court later halved the sentences after the group confessed to their crimes.
Two others who were arrested on similar charges are denying their involvement and are expected to face a separate court hearing at a later date.
In February, Thai authorities arrested the network's so-called ringleader. Hasadin Uraipraiwan, who posted under the alias of Banpodj, was arrested in a Bangkok hotel following a joint effort by the Technology Crime Suppression Division police and soldiers for lèse majesté as well.