Thai Activist Gets 18 Years for Insulting Monarchy

Thaksin supporter vows to appeal
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2009 5:41 AM CDT
Thaksin Shinawatra supporters carrying boxes of petition march through nearby streets to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, last week.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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(Newser) – A supporter of Thailand's exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was sentenced to 18 years in prison for insulting the monarchy in what free speech campaigners describe as a severe attack on political dissent, Reuters reports. The 46-year-old woman was arrested last year after a fiery speech denouncing the 2006 coup that forced Thaksin from power. Critics of the law say it is prone to abuse, because anyone can bring a complaint no matter how minor the offense.