Thai comedian and 'red-shirt' leader jailed for royal insult

Red shirts storm parliament in Bangkok, April 2010 Yossawaris Chuklom is a prominent "red-shirt", the group that led Bangkok protests in 2010

Related Stories

A prominent member of Thailand's "red-shirt" political movement has been jailed for two years for insulting the monarchy in a 2010 speech.

Activist and comedian Yossawaris Chuklom, who uses the stage name Jeng Dokchik, made the speech at a rally in Bangkok during political protests.

People found guilty under Thailand's strict lese majeste laws can face up to 15 years in prison.

Critics of the law say it has been used to suppress free speech.

Thailand has endured political upheaval since a military coup in 2006 which ousted then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who went into exile.

In March 2010, "red-shirt" protesters - many of whom supported Mr Thaksin - occupied key parts of the capital, Bangkok, demanding the government of then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva step down.

More than 90 people, both civilians and soldiers, were killed in the protests, which went on for over two months.

A lawyer for Mr Yossawaris said he had originally been sentenced to three years but that the judge reduced it to two because he had given useful evidence.

Thamrong Lakdaen said his client intended to appeal against the verdict, and would apply for bail.

Mr Yossawaris currently serves as an advisor to Thailand's deputy commerce minister in a government led by Mr Thaksin's sister, who won elections in 2011.

Thailand's lese majeste laws are intended to protect the monarchy, headed by 85-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

But critics say they have been increasingly politicised and used to curb free speech.

The discussion intensified after a Thai man in his 60s who was jailed for 20 years for sending text messages deemed offensive to the royal family died in prison last year.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Asia stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cerro RicoSatanic mines

    Devil worship in the tunnels of the man-eating mountain

  • Nefertiti MenoeWar of words

    The woman who sparked a row over 'speaking white'

  • Oil pumpPump change

    What would ending the US oil export ban do to petrol prices?

  • Brazilian Scene, Ceara, in 1893Sir Snapshot

    19th Century Brazil seen through the eyes of an Englishman

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SailingGame on

    BBC Capital discovers why certain sports seem to have a special appeal for those with deep pockets


  • European Union's anti-terrorism chief Gilles de KerchoveHARDtalk Watch

    Anti-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove on the threat from returning Islamic State fighters

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.