Asia

Activist gets 15-year jail for insulting Thai monarchy

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Image caption King Bhumibol, 84, is revered as semi-divine by many Thais

A political activist has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Thailand for insulting the monarchy.

Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul was found guilty of violating strict lese majeste laws that seek to protect the king, queen and heir to the throne.

She was convicted on three counts of defaming the monarchy at political rallies in 2008.

Hers is the latest in a series of high-profile cases to be brought under the lese majeste laws.

Ms Daranee - better known as "Da Torpedo" for her aggressive manner of speaking - has said she would not appeal against the sentence.

"I have no will to keep fighting and I will neither lodge an appeal nor seek a royal pardon," she told the Associated Press.

In 2009 Ms Daranee was sentenced to 18 years' jail for the same offences, but an appeals court ordered a retrial because the original proceedings were heard behind closed doors.

"What Daranee did was against the law," the trial judge said delivering the verdict on Thursday.

"She had committed this crime several times, so there was a charge of five years for each offence."

Last week, Thai-born American citizen Joe Gordon was given two-and-a-half years in jail for defaming the royal family.

And last month Amphon Tangnoppakul, 61, was jailed for 20 years for sending messages from his mobile phone that were deemed offensive.

The United States and the European Union have both expressed concern about the recent cases.

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