Thai rights lawyer Arnon Nampa jailed for 2 more years over royal insult, fined US$4 for using loudspeaker

A court in Thailand on Monday sentenced one of the kingdom’s leading democracy activists to a further two years imprisonment on royal insult charges.

It is the latest charge levelled against prominent human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa, who now faces more than 10 years in prison.

He is currently in jail after he was handed down a four-year sentence in January over three messages posted on Facebook in 2021, adding to the four years he was already serving for a prior lèse-majesté conviction.

Critics say the government has used the strict legislation to silence dissent, prosecuting scores under a tough law that protects King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his family.

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Activist who called for Thai monarchy reforms jailed for ‘royal insults’

Activist who called for Thai monarchy reforms jailed for ‘royal insults’

The Criminal Court in Bangkok sentenced Arnon for two years and 20 days over his calls at a Harry Potter-themed rally in 2021 to amend Thailand’s royal defamation laws.

He was found guilty of four charges including violation of lèse-majesté, defying the emergency decree, and using a loudspeaker without permission, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said.

“Arnon denied all wrongdoing,” his lawyer Junjira Junpaew told Reuters, adding that his legal team will appeal the sentencing.

Thailand’s youth-led pro-democracy protests in 2020 saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets to make unprecedented calls to reform the monarchy.

Sentencing him, the criminal court also fined him 150 baht (US$4) for use of the loudspeaker.

Arnon is among more than 150 activists who have been charged in recent years under lèse-majesté laws, often referred to as “112” after the relevant section of the criminal code.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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