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Thai editor gets 10 years for royal insult

A Thai political activist accused of insulting the monarchy has been jailed for 10 years in the latest tough sentence under the kingdom's controversial lese-majesty law. Rights campaigners denounced the conviction.

Bangkok Criminal Court convicted the magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk in connection with two articles deemed offensive to the royal family published in 2010 in his now-closed Voice of Taksin magazine. The editor had already been held for more than a year without bail by the time he was brought into court to receive his sentence on Wednesday.

"We accept the ruling, but we will appeal," his lawyer, Karom Polpornklang, said after the verdict. "I can confirm that he did not intend to violate article 112," Karom added, referring to the lese-majesty law. "He was doing his job as a journalist. We will seek bail for him."

Somyot, who was arrested in 2011, is a supporter of the "Red Shirt" protest group loyal to ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The prime minister was toppled by royalist generals in a 2006 coup.

Rights groups accuse the government of politicizing lese-majesty. Under the law, anyone convicted of insulting the king, queen, heir or regent faces the threat of up to 15 years in prison on each count.

mkg/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)