BANGKOK (Reuters) – United Nations human rights specialists on Monday spoke out towards Thailand’s rising use of a legislation forbidding criticism of its royal household, singling out a 43-year sentence for an aged lady convicted underneath the legislation.
The condemnation comes after dozens of police instances have been filed towards leaders of youth-led demonstrations which have damaged taboos by brazenly criticising the Thai king, risking prosecution underneath a strict legislation generally known as lese majeste that’s punishable by as much as 15 years in jail.
Since November, no less than 40 youth activists have been charged underneath the legislation, in accordance with information compiled by the Thai Attorneys for Human Rights. All the authorized instances are pending.
“We’re profoundly disturbed by the reported rise within the variety of lese majeste prosecutions since late 2020 and the harsher jail sentences,” a bunch of seven U.N. particular rapporteurs and members of a working committee on arbitrary detention stated in a press release on Monday.
The U.N. human rights workplace in December known as on Thailand to amend the legislation.
Monday’s assertion singled out the case of Anchan Preelert, a 65-year-old lady sentenced to 43 years in jail in January in what legal professionals stated was the harshest punishment but for royal insult.
The military-backed authorities briefly stopped utilizing the lese majeste legislation in 2018, however police began to invoke it once more late final yr after younger protesters started brazenly criticising the monarchy.
Thailand is formally a constitutional monarchy, however the king is revered by the predominantly Buddhist nation’s conservative institution. Till lately, open criticism was extraordinarily uncommon.
(Writing by Kay Johnson; Enhancing by Martin Petty)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.