This Thai activist has been sentenced to a record 50 years in prison for sharing TV show videos on Facebook “criticizing” the monarchy.
In 2021, Mongkhon Thirakhot, a pro-democracy activist, shared posts from several Western TV shows criticizing the Thai monarchy.
His posts included a clip from “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” that included jokes about the Thai king, his wife and their dog, as well as clips from an animated series and a BBC documentary.
In Thailand, it is illegal to insult, defame or threaten the king, the queen and other members of the royal family under the lèse-majesté law, carrying a sentence of three to 15 years.
In 2023, Mongkhon was sentenced was sentenced to 28 years in prison for sharing 14 posts that “insulted the monarchy”.
But on Jan. 11, the court found him guilty of 11 more counts of criticizing the monarchy, adding 22 years to his sentence.
His total sentence of 50 years is now the longest sentence ever handed down for speaking against the monarchy in Thailand.
However, Mongkhon’s prison sentence was reduced by one-third as he was cooperative during the court’s proceedings.
At least 262 people have been charged with insulting the monarchy since 2020, according to human rights groups, who have said the government is using the law to silence criticism.