Setting a record for what may be the most unreasonable jail sentence ever handed down over a Facebook post, a Thailand citizen has started a 25-year stretch behind bars for five pictures deemed insulting to the country’s monarchy.
Tiensutham Suttijitseranee, a 58-year-old businessman, was convicted in a closed military court earlier today, according to Reuters. His relatives and reporters were not allowed to attend, but his lawyer said he was given 10 years for each picture, and the 50-year sentence was then halved because he pleaded guilty.
Tiensutham posted five pictures to Facebook, and added captions that the court decided were defamatory to the Thai royal family. Thailand has the world’s toughest lèse-majesté laws, and it is a crime to insult or threaten to king, queen or regent.
Since a military coup in May 2014, the country’s prime minister – previously the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army – has taken an aggressive stance against anything he feels insults the monarchy.
“Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years,” reads the law, although it has also been interpreted to mean almost anything connected to the royal family.