Akachai Hongkangwan, top right, speaks to journalists in front of criminal court Thursday, March 28, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The court has sentenced Akachai, a Thai man, to three years and four months in prison for selling video CDs of an Australian TV news segment deemed offensive to the royal family. The court on Thursday found Akachai guilty under lese majeste, the crime of defaming Thailandís royal family. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Thursday, March 28, 2013 1:57 am
Thailand sentences man to 3 years for royal insult
The Associated Press
The court convicted 37-year-old 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 66,666 baht ($2,271) for violating copyright law.
Akachai was selling the VCDs during the anti-government demonstration in Bangkok in 2010. He was arrested in March 2011 and was released on bail.
The court reduced the original sentence of five years to three years and four months, citing that Akachai had provided useful accounts during the trials.
Thailand's lese majeste laws mandate a jail term of up to 15 years. They are considered the harshest in the world and are criticized as an infringement of free speech.