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Editor jailed for defaming king


King Bhumibol Adulyadej turns 87 next week (AP)

King Bhumibol Adulyadej turns 87 next week (AP)

King Bhumibol Adulyadej turns 87 next week (AP)

A military court in Thailand has sentenced a web editor to four and a half years in jail for publishing an article five years ago which was ruled as defamatory to the nation's king.

The punishment is the latest manifestation of an intensified crackdown on alleged criticism of the monarchy that has been waged by authorities since the army seized power in a May 22 coup.

Thailand's lese majeste law is considered the harshest in the world, with those accused of defaming, insulting or threatening the monarchy facing jail terms ranging from three to 15 years.

The sentence against Nut Rungwong was halved because he pleaded guilty to the charge, according to an official in the army Judge Advocate General's department.

Rungwong edited the Thai E-News website, which is now blocked by censors. The article, published on the website in 2009, was written by Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a radical Thai intellectual and former university political scientist who fled to Britain the same year.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, turns 87 on December 5, and concerns about his ailing health have risen markedly in recent years.

The verdict was the second issued by a Thai military court this month in a case involving alleged defamation of the monarchy.

PA Media