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Thailand frees activist ‘Da Torpedo’ after eight years’ jail for insulting monarchy

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Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, imprisoned after speech in 2008, receives royal pardon from remainder of sentence she received under strict lsemajest laws

Thailand has freed a political activist after eight years in jail for insulting the countrys widely revered monarchy under royal defamation laws.

Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, also known as Da Torpedo, was freed on Saturday under an annual series of royal pardons, said Charnchao Chaiyanukij, permanent secretary of the justice ministry.

She was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison, he said.

Daranee, a key supporter ofThaksin Shinawatra, the ousted former prime minister, was convicted of making defamatory comments against the monarchy during a fiery speech at a political rally in 2008.

A criminal court found her guilty on three counts oflsemajest.

Under Article 112 of Thailands criminal code, anyone who defames, insults or threatens the king, queen, heir-apparent or regent faces up to 15 years in prison.

Since seizing power in 2014 the military junta has taken a hardline stance against perceived royal insults and handed down record sentences.

For more than a decade Thailand has been bitterly divided between rival camps one led by Thaksin, the other dominated by the royalist and military establishment who accuse Thaksin of corruption and nepotism, charges he denies.

National anxiety over the frail health of 88-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej has compounded the political tensions. Thais mostly see the king as a unifying force and celebrated the 70th year of his reign in June.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/28/thailand-frees-activist-da-torpedo-after-eight-years-jail-for-insulting-monarchy

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