Thailand sentences man to 3 years for royal insult

Akachai Hongkangwan, top right, speaks to journalists in front of criminal court Thursday...


Thu Mar 28, 5:28 AM UTC

BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai man has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for selling video CDs of an Australian TV news segment deemed offensive to Thailand's royal family.

The court Thursday convicted Akachai Hongkangwan under lese majeste laws prohibiting defamation of the royal family.

The VCDs contained a segment on the Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s Foreign Correspondent series in 2010 that questioned the future of Thailand's monarchy. The segment included footage from a private video of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn with his then wife-to-be.

The court also fined him for 66,000 baht ($2,249) for violating copyright law.

Akachai was arrested in March 2011 and was released on bail.

Thailand's lese majeste laws mandate a jail term of up to 15 years and are criticized as an infringement of free speech.