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A 26-year-old netizen has been sentenced to 25 years in prison on charges of royal defamation and violation of the Computer-Related Crimes Act for 18 tweets made between December 2022 and October 2023.

Maggie (pseudonym), 26, was arrested on 20 October 2023. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that her mobile phone was confiscated, preventing her from contacting anyone. While detained at Thong Lo Police Station, she was accused of making 18 tweets about the monarchy between December 2022 – October 2023 and charged with royal defamation and violation of the Computer-Related Crimes Act. She was also interrogated without a lawyer.

Since her arrest, Maggie has been detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison and has never been granted bail. TLHR said lawyers filed for bail twice, in November 2023 and February 2024, but both requests were denied. She later decided to plead guilty.

TLHR said today (14 March) that the South Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced Maggie to 50 years in prison on 14 counts of royal defamation and 4 counts of violations of the Computer-Related Crimes Act. Because she pleaded guilty, her sentence was halved to 25 years.

A member of the LGBTQ community, Maggie told TLHR ahead of her sentencing that, although the Bangkok Remand Prison has allocated cells for LGBTQ inmates, the cells are very crowded. The cell where she is detained holds at least 41 people.

Maggie also said that when detainees are taken to court, correction officials check their hair and shave anyone whose hair is longer than stipulated by prison regulations. She feels that LGBTQ inmates should be allowed to have a hairstyle that matches their identity and wear makeup.

She also said that when detainees are taken to court, they are often made to wear chains, which made it difficult to walk and chafe their ankles. She wanted detainees to be allowed to wear socks to prevent injuries from the chains. She also said that basic medications like painkillers are scarce in prison and would like prison authorities to make sure these are available.

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