Transgender woman faces 25 years behind bars for lese majeste

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A transgender woman has been slammed with a hefty 25-year prison sentence for lese majeste and computer crimes.

In a swift ruling from the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court, the 26 year old defendant, Maggie, faced the grim reality of her fate today. Lawyers from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) disclosed details of the verdict, shedding light on a case fraught with legal complexities.

Maggie’s predicament stems from a series of 18 tweets, spanning from December 2022 to October 2023, deemed critical of the royal institution. TLHR revealed that 14 of these messages blatantly violated the infamous lese-majeste law, Section 112 of the Criminal Code, alongside the Computer Crime Act. Four additional tweets breached solely the Computer Crime Act, adding to Maggie’s legal woes.

The court’s sentence seemed draconian at first glance, stacking up to a staggering 50 years behind bars. However, a twist emerged as Maggie’s confession led to a halving of her sentence, ultimately resulting in 25 years of incarceration.

Since her arrest by Special Branch police last October, Maggie has been confined to Bangkok Remand Prison. Her lawyers exposed alarming details of her interrogation, highlighting instances where she was deprived of legal counsel and coerced into signing a confession under duress.

Maggie’s backstory paints a picture of struggle and adversity, hailing from a humble farm family in Yasothon. The transgender woman’s journey led her to Bangkok, where she navigated through odd jobs, only to find herself embroiled in a political landscape fraught with tension.

Her involvement in pro-democracy movements reflects a broader trend of dissent against Thailand’s ruling establishment. Shockingly, data from TLHR reveals a staggering tally of nearly 2,000 individuals prosecuted for political dissent since the onset of the Free Youth protests in July 2020, reported Bangkok Post.

Among them, over 250 face the daunting charge of lese-majeste, while hundreds more grapple with sedition accusations.

In related news, the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) requested the Constitution Court to consider dissolving the Move Forward Party (MFP). This request comes as a response to the MFP’s efforts to reform the lese majeste law, also known as Section 112 of the Criminal Law.

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