Thailand: Blind woman jailed for insulting royal family on Facebook

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A blind woman has been sent to jail, on January 04, for 18 months for posting defamatory content about the Royal Family on Facebook in Thailand. The convict, Nuhurhayati Masoe, a 23-year-old woman who hails from Yala province published the defamatory post in October 2016.

The woman posted the excerpt from an article, which she heard through an audio application for blind people. The article was written by Giles Ungpakorn, a Thai-British academic who is a vocal opponent of the Thai monarchy. After founding guilty under the lese-majesty law, Giles fled from Thailand to Britain.

Defence lawyer Kaosar Aleemama told AFP that the judges felt sympathized with the convict as she is blind, but they were not able to cancel the sentence. Nuhurhayati Masoe will serve her jail sentence at the provincial prison in Yala.

"She confessed that she posted it, but she did not realize it would lead to such a harsh punishment," told Kaosar Aleemama to AFP.

Earlier, judges had given her three-year jail sentence, but it was halved to 18 months as she pleaded guilty.

Thailand's lese-majeste law is one of the toughest in the world, and anybody who violates can face up to 15 years of imprisonment for each count of offending Royalty. Defaming the king, queen, heir or regent is considered a grave offense, but many times, the law is being misused to silence all criticisms against the monarchy. Since, 2014, many people have been charged under this section, and most of them were punished for posting critical comments on social media platforms.

Convicts booked under this charge rarely gets bail, and most of the times, they plead guilty in exchange for lighter punishments.