Blind Thai Woman Thrown in Jail For ‘Insulting Monarchy’ on Facebook

It took a Facebook post criticizing the royal family to land a blind woman in jail in Thailand.

On Thursday, Nurhayati Masoh, 23, was sentenced to 12-18 months in jail after reportedly sharing an article by known pro-democracy, anti-monarchist Thai-British academic Giles Ungpakorn. 

Ungpakorn, who was a former associate professor at Chulalongkorn University, fled Thailand in 2009 after he was charged with treason for his controversial academic work titled “A Coup for the Rich.”

Being visually impaired, Nurhayati reportedly used a computer application that assists the blind user to post on social media. According to The Nation, blind people in her Facebook circle reported her to the authorities.

After her arrest in November, Nurhayati was initially sentenced to three years in jail by a local court in Yala Province, reports Reuters. The 23-year-old woman reportedly violated the country’s royal insult law.

A court official revealed that her sentence was cut in half after she willingly confessed to the allegation. Nurhayati’s lawyer, Kaosar Aleemama, said that while she admitted to posting the article, she had not realized that she would get severely punished for it.

The lèse-majesté law in Thailand, which forbids the insult of the monarchy, is considered to be the toughest in the world. Anyone found offending the king, queen, heir or regent could face up to 15 years in jail for each offense. Since the creation of the country’s first criminal code in 1908, this law has remained virtually unchanged, except imposing a tougher penalty in 1976.

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