A Swiss man is starting a 10-year prison sentence in Thailand because he insulted the country’s King. 57-year-old Oliver Jufer, who has been living in Thailand for the past decade, and is married to a Thai woman, was arrested in the northern city of Chang Mai for painting out the face of the King on posters.
He claimed he was drunk at the time. But defacing images of the King is a serious crime in Thailand. Jufer could have faced up to 75 years in prison under Thai law. In the end the court sentenced him to 20 years but because he pleaded guilty that was reduced by half.
He does have the right to an appeal but he has not said whether he will or not. King Bhumibol of Thailand, otherwise known as Rama IX, is revered by his people. At 79 years old he is the World’s longest reigning monarch.
The 60th anniversary of his coronation last year saw mass celebrations throughout the country.