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The Military Court has sentenced a 49-year-old accountant to 19 years in prison under the lèse majesté and sedition laws during a deposition hearing without informing her lawyer.

Sasinan Thamnithinan, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), told Prachatai that at 12:30 pm on Tuesday, 15 December 2015, the Military Court of Bangkok sentenced Chayapha C., a 49-year-old accountant, to 19 years in jail for offenses under Article 112, the lèse majesté law, and Article 116, the sedition law, of the Criminal Code and Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act (importation of illegal online content).

The court, however, halved the jail term to nine years and six months because Chayapha pleaded guilty.

Chayapha, an anti-establishment red shirt from Samut Prakan Province, was accused of using the Facebook identity ‘Chanisa Boonyajinda’ to post an image of a military tank with a message saying the counter-coup was on its way.

She was arrested and taken to a military base on 23 June 2015 by military officers without an arrest warrant. After seizing her mobile phone, tablet, and computer, the police from Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) later charged her under the Computer Crime Act, and sedition and lèse majesté laws.

Pol Maj Gen Siripong Timula, Commander of the TCSD, said “after we expanded the investigation of the case, we found that she had also posted messages which referred negatively to the Thai monarchy so we requested the military court to issue an arrest warrant under Article 112 for her.”

The lawyer reported that Chayapha pleaded guilty during the deposition hearing because she was stressful about court procedures and did not receive consultation from her family or TLHR.

Chayapha was informed by the authorities on Monday night, 14 December 2015, less than 24 hours earlier, that she would be brought to a military court for the deposition hearing, Sasinan reported.

As Chayapha’s attorney, Sasinan told Prachatai that she had earlier asked the court about the schedule for her client’s deposition hearing, but the authorities did not inform her until today after the military court read the verdict.

The lawyer said that the military court at first refused her request to transcribe the indictment report against Chayapha and that she had to request the court twice to be able to do so.

Chayapha is a single mother. She is suffering from hypertension, osteoarthritis, and respiratory diseases.

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