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US troubled by court rulings in Thailand

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The U.S. says it is troubled by recent court rulings in Thailand inconsistent with international standards of freedom of expression.

A Thai court Nov. 23 sentenced a 61-year old grandfather to 20 years for sending text messages deemed offensive to the nation's queen. He was punished under laws aimed at protecting the monarchy.

Thailand is a U.S. treaty ally, and State Department spokeswoman for East Asia, Darragh Paradiso, said Monday the U.S. has utmost respect for the Thai monarchy.

But she added the U.S. is "troubled by recent prosecutions and court decisions that are not consistent with international standards of freedom of expression."

Human Rights Watch protested the severity of recent penalties for lese majeste offenses and urged that the law be amended.

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Related Keywords:US-Thailand-Free Speech,Human rights and civil liberties,Social issues,Social affairs


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