October 17, 2018
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Thailand releases editor jailed for 7 years for lese majeste

Bangkok, Apr 30 (efe-epa).- Thai editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was released from prison Monday after 7 years of incarceration for two articles considered offensive to the monarchy, whose image is protected in the country under the lese majeste law, according to lawyers.

Somyot, 56, was imprisoned in 2011 after publishing two satirical texts in the now-shut down daily "Voice of Thaksin " (of which he was editor) and who, according to Thai justice, insulted King Bhumibol of Thailand who died in October 2016.

During the trial, the editor testified that the pieces were written under a pseudonym by former local politician Jakrapob Penkair, who is in exile.

However, the judges rejected the argument and sentenced Somyot to 10 years in jail for violating article 112 of the Criminal Code, which establishes sentences of between three and 15 years for those who criticize or issue comments deemed insulting to the royal family.

For years, human rights groups have interceded with the authorities in favor of Somyot's release, whom they call a political prisoner.

Somyot left the Bangkok Remand prison where a large group of followers and pro-democracy activists were waiting outside.

Legal and Human rights group ILaw, on the occasion of Somyot's release, highlighted in an article published on social networks the lack of freedom of press and freedom of expression in the country.

Lese majesty cases have shot up since the military coup of 2014, which puts this type of crime under the jurisdiction of military courts, where the sentences are twice as severe as those issued by civil courts.

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