Man sentenced to 20 years for insulting Thai queen

November 23, 2011 2:11:30 AM PST
Thailand's criminal court has sentenced a 61-year-old man to 20 years in prison for sending text messages deemed insulting to the country's queen.

The court found Amphon Tangnoppaku guilty Wednesday of violating the kingdom's lese majeste and computer crime laws. Lese majeste is the crime of insulting the monarchy, and Thailand's laws against it are the most severe in the world. Even repeating the details of an alleged offense is illegal.

The court said Amphon sent offensive text messages in May 2010 to a personal secretary of then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Lese majeste complaints in Thailand spike during times of instability, when the law is abused by political rivals to harass opponents. That has been the case since a 2006 military coup.