BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai man faces up to 15 years in prison for selling video CDs containing an Australian TV news program about Thailand’s monarchy, his lawyer said Monday.
Akachai Hongkangwan was arrested on March 11 on the charge of lese majeste, or disrespect for the monarchy, said Anont Nampa of the Rasadorn Prasong Law Center. The center was established in January to assist poor people charged with politically related crimes, and currently has six clients arrested for lese majeste.
Akachai was arrested for selling VCDs containing a segment on ABC’s Foreign Correspondent series from last April that was a serious examination of the future of Thailand’s monarchy, but included footage from a private video of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn with his wife-to-be.
Anont said Akachai acknowledged selling the VCDs, but denied he broke any law. He was released on bail on Friday.
The lese majeste law mandates a jail term of three to 15 years for “whoever defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the regent.”