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Editor jailed for monarchy insults

BANGKOK — A Thai court has jailed a magazine editor for 10 years for publishing articles that were deemed to have insulted the monarchy.

Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, who is also a prominent political activist, was sentenced in connection with two articles in the magazine.

He was prosecuted under Thailand’s lese majeste law, which campaigners say is being used to curb free speech.

Rights groups and the European Union have condemned the verdict.

The European Union said it “seriously undermines the right to freedom of expression and press freedom”.

“At the same time, it affects Thailand’s image as a free and democratic society,” AFP quoted the EU’s delegation in Bangkok as saying.

Somyot and the magazine he edited were closely aligned with Thailand’s “red-shirt” movement, which led anti-government protests in 2010 that shut down parts of Bangkok.

He had been detained without bail since April 2011 and his supporters have complained that he has been mistreated in custody.

The two articles in question were published in 2010 under pseudonyms in the magazine that he founded.

Somyot was arrested a year later, five days after launching a petition calling for a review of Article 112, which says those who defame the monarchy face jail.

The court handed him five-year terms for each magazine article, with an additional year added from a suspended defamation case from three years ago.

His lawyer said he would appeal. (BBC)

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