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Thai man jailed for lese-majeste over Australian news footage

Published on Mar 28, 2013 6:53 PM

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - A Thai court jailed a man for three years and four months on Thursday for selling video CDs showing sections of an Australian news series that contained content deemed offensive to Thailand's royal family.

Akachai Hongkawan, 37, was also fined 66,666 baht (S$2830) under Thailand's strict lese-majeste law after he was found guilty of distributing the segments from a 2010 Australian Broadcasting Corporation series, translated into Thai, that discussed the future of the monarchy.

"The defendant assembled and distributed the video CDs himself after downloading the documentary from the Internet and was fully aware of his actions," a judge at a Bangkok criminal court said in passing sentence.

Thailand's 85-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej is seen as semi-divine by many Thais but he told an audience in 2005 that he should not be above criticism.

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