Man Faces 32 Years for Liking Facebook Photo

Shared post was insulting to Thai king, say authorities
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2015 7:16 AM CST
A Thai woman holds a portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
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(Newser) – A simple thumbs up could send a Thai man to prison for the next 32 years. Thai police arrested 27-year-old factory worker Thanakorn Siripaiboon near Bangkok on Tuesday after he liked a doctored image of 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej showing the leader in a negative light, reports the Bangkok Post. Siripaiboon then "shared it with 608 friends," a military official tells AFP. Insulting the king, queen, heir, or regent is a prisonable offense in Thailand under the country's lèse-majesté law, with each offense carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years; there is no possibility for an appeal, reports Mashable. Siripaiboon—a member of an alleged anti-monarchy group on Facebook—also shared an infographic accusing officials of corruption linked to the construction of a multi-million dollar tourist attraction, Rajabhakti Park, officials say.

The infographic implicated several government figures including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and his wife, reports the Post. An official says Siripaiboon—who is officially charged with sedition and computer crimes—admitted he "posted the infographic of Rajabhakti Park to incite members of the group" to oppose the military. Siripaiboon faces up to 32 years in jail. His case, however, is hardly unique. Another man was sentenced to 30 years in prison in August for defaming the Thai monarchy on Facebook. His sentence is the longest term handed down to date. Quartz reports the US ambassador to Thailand, Glyn Davies, is also under investigation for violating Thailand's lèse-majesté law in a speech last month, during which he criticized the heavy penalties military courts deliver in lèse-majesté cases. (Comparing Turkey's president to Gollum might also be a crime.)

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