Thai activist convicted of defaming king pardoned

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Associated Press

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 3:33 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 4:03 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — A political activist who was convicted of defaming Thailand's monarchy has received a royal pardon from the king and will be freed from jail.

Surachai Danwattananusorn was sentenced last year to 7 1/2 years in prison for making remarks judged to have insulted the monarchy. He was a communist insurgent in Thailand in the 1970s and was imprisoned in the 1980s. Surachai also led a faction of the Red Shirt political movement, whose members took to the streets and clashed with the military in 2010.

Red Shirt chairwoman Thida Thavornseth says Surachai is expected to be released from a prison on Bangkok's northern outskirts on Thursday.

Thailand's lese majeste law, which protects the monarchy from defamation, is the world's harshest, mandating a jail term of three to 15 years.

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