Chiranuch Premchaipoen, the editor of the news website Prachatai.com, is to be tried on 4 February on a lèse-majesté charge under articles 14 and 15 of the Computer Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Widely known as Jiew, she is also facing a possible 50-year jail sentence in a separate lèse majesté case under article 112 of the criminal code.
Reporters Without Borders calls on the Thai authorities to show clemency towards Chiranuch and follow the example taken in the case of Bento, an Internet user who had been facing a jail term on a charge of insulting the monarchy in a comment posted online until the prosecution was abandoned.
A similar decision in Chiranuch’s case would be seen as a clear commitment by Thailand to freedom of expression.
Chiranuch was just doing her job as a journalist and should not be taken to court for that. Reporters Without Borders calls for her acquittal in the trial beginning this week and the withdrawal of the other charges against her.
Chiranuch is receiving a lot of support both from Thai civil society and internationally. Her arrest in September on her return from a conference in Budapest prompted worldwide protests. She is receiving support in blogs (http://digitaldemocracy.chipin.com/free-jiew), online petitions and the Twitter hashtag @jiew.