Making headlines across the world, 20-year-old Kanthoop, a Thai university student, faces up to 15 years in jail for defying one of “the world’s strictest pro-monarchy regulations, which sentences anyone who insults, defames, or threatens the king or his family to three to fifteen years’ imprisonment.”
“Article 112,” as the regulation is known, has been in existence since 1908, but has been recently emphasized since the military coup in 2006 that removed former PM Thaskin Shinawatra, who was suspected in royalist circles of attempting to undermine the monarchy. Just in 2010 alone, 478 “Article 112” charges were made and 75,000 allegedly anti-monarchist websites were blocked.
“Article 112” would appear to infringe on the Thai people’s ability to have a healthy national dialogue and to express their opinions openly. Such is the case with Kanthoop. Police opened their probe in 2010 after she posted Facebook messages that were later forwarded to authorities by other Thai citizens (under Thai law, any citizen can file a “112” accusation).
Thai student Kanthoop claims that the allegedly offensive messages were distorted by those who forwarded them. The court proceedings against her have been postponed until a later date as police “gather more evidence.”
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