World

Thai court issues 35-year sentence for insulting monarchy

A military court in Thailand has sentenced a man to 35 years in prison for social media posts deemed defamatory to the monarchy, a sentence believed to be the longest ever handed down for the offense of lese majeste.

A legal aid group said the Bangkok military court on Friday sentenced a salesman whom it identified only as Wichai to 70 years' imprisonment for seven counts of lese majeste, but halved the sentence because he had pleaded guilty.

Lese majeste, insulting the monarchy, is punishable by three to 15 years' imprisonment per incident. There has been a sharp rise in cases since a military coup in 2014. Critics of the law say it is used as a tool of political repression.