Thai activist’s mother charged for one-word Facebook post

Thai activist’s mother charged for one-word Facebook postThe mother of a prominent student activist was convicted on Monday by Thai military court on charges for insulting royal family. A suit came after her one-word Facebook message.

Patnaree Chankij was initially arrested in May by Thai police for violating Thailand's severe royal defamation law, which bans disparaging the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison on each count.

The charges came as she wrote "ja" - the Thai equivalent of "yeah" - in response to a private Facebook message from someone else that allegedly insulted the royal family.

The case has been seized upon by activists as a terrifying example of how the military authorities have broadened their interpretation of the crime to include even vague references to the monarchy.

Police eventually dropped the charges and forwarded the case to prosecutors from the military who have pressed ahead.

"A military court today accepted the case filed by the military prosecutor (on 112)," lawyer Anon Nampa told. Chankij was granted bail ahead of an upcoming plea hearing.

Use of both Thailand's lese majeste law and military courts has skyrocketed since former army chief turned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power in May 2014 sparking international condemnation, including from the United Nations.

Lese majeste law in Thailand if often used nowadays by military courts with record breaking 25 and 30 year sentences have since been handed down for people over Facebook posts. A man even found himself arrested for making sarcastic comments about the king's late dog.
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