Nut Rungwon (Somsak Pakdeedech)

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Nut, the editor of the online news aggregator Thai E-News, was sentenced by a military court on November 24, 2014, to nine years in prison on charges of defaming the country’s 86-year-old monarch, a criminal offense under the country’s lѐse majesté law.

He was arrested during a police raid on his house three days after the military seized power on May 22, 2014, according to news reports. He was refused bail and remained in jail until his trial.

Convictions under Thailand’s lѐse majesté law, outlined in Article 112 of the criminal code, carry maximum 15-year jail terms. Nut’s sentence was commuted to four and a half years because he pleaded guilty to the anti-royal charges, news reports said. He petitioned for a royal pardon in September 2015, according to a person familiar with the situation who agreed to speak with CPJ on the condition of anonymity. The petition was pending in late year, the person said.

The charges stemmed from an article Nut published in 2009 by Giles Ungpakorn, a Thai university professor and political writer. Ungpakorn faces separate lѐse majesté charges and lives in exile in the United Kingdom, according to reports. Thai E-News is blocked inside Thailand by the Information and Communication Technology Ministry, but continues to operate, reports said. Nut was being held at Bangkok’s Remand Prison. According to the person who spoke with CPJ about his case, Nut is healthy and allowed regular exercise.