Thai man faces up to 32 years in jail for ‘liking’ a Photoshopped image of the country’s king on Facebook.
‘Liking’ a Facebook post can land you behind prison for 32 years in Thailand. This was experienced by Thanakorn Siripaiboon, who was arrested at his home in Samut Prakan province for sharing the doctored photo of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, as well as an infographic on a Thai corruption scandal, with around 600 friends.
Under Thai law, anyone convicted of insulting the revered but ailing 88-year-old king can face up to 15 years in jail on each count. “On December 2, he clicked the ‘like’ link on a doctored photo of the king and shared it with 608 friends,” said Colonel Burin Thongprapai, a military junta legal officer. “He is under military custody,” said Col Thongprapai, adding that he would appear at a military court on Monday.
He said the 27-year-old mechanic has confessed to charges of sedition, lese majeste and computer crimes, and faces up to 32 years behind bars.
Human rights lawyers had warned Mr Thanakorn, who belongs to an opposition red-shirt Facebook group, is at risk of becoming another victim of “enforced disappearance” in the military-ruled country.
Such prosecutions have become more common since the army grabbed power last year.
Two people have died in custody in the last two months after being charged with lese majeste, and Human Rights Watch said secret military jails have become ‘a new standard nationwide’.
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, a group giving legal help to Mr Thanakorn, said they have ‘no idea’ where he is being held.