News24

Thai king pardons royal insult

2010-06-30 20:07

Bangkok - An engineer given a 10-year jail sentence for posting pictures on the Internet said to insult Thailand's revered monarchy has been pardoned by the king, a prison official said Wednesday.

Suvicha Thakhor was convicted of violating computer and strict lese-majesty rules last year after a court found that he had doctored images of the royal family before putting them on the web.

The Thai national was given his freedom after successfully applying for a royal reprieve, according to Korkiat Kasiwiwat, deputy director general of the country's Correction Department.

"The king granted him the royal pardon on June 28 and Suvicha is already free from prison," he said.

Thailand's lese-majesty regulations, which criminalise any insult or defamation of the royal family, are punishable by up to 15 years in jail. Anyone can file a complaint of lese-majesty, which police are duty-bound to investigate.

In recent years the Thai government has removed tens of thousands of web pages from the internet for insulting the monarchy. It has recently approved the creation of a special cyber crime agency to stamp out online criticism of the royal family.

King Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, has been hospitalised since September and has made no direct public comment on Thailand's recent political turmoil, which has left 90 people dead since mid-March.