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
Thai Activist Gets 18 Years for Insulting Monarchy
Thaksin Shinawatra supporters carrying boxes of petition march through nearby streets to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, last week.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

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.
(Read more Thaksin Shinawatra stories.)

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