Thai court sentences firebrand royalist activist to 2 years' jail for royal insult
BANGKOK (REUTERS) - A Thai court sentenced on Tuesday the founder of a pro-royalist protest movement to 2 years in jail for insulting the monarchy by repeating comments deemed offensive made by a political rival.
Businessman Sondhi Limthongkul led so-called yellow shirt protests from 2005 to 2008 that undermined two governments led, or backed, by ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
"The accused had no reason to repeat comments made by a political rival in a public space as repeating them made those words known to an even wider audience," a judge told a Bangkok court.
Thailand's 85-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej is often portrayed as an almost divine figure and, under tough lese-majeste laws, anything deemed an insult or a threat to the monarchy is punishable by up to 15 years in jail.