Thai cleaner could face up to 15 years in jail for posting ‘ok’ on Facebook
A cleaning lady in Thailand faces up to a 15 year jail sentence for posting the word “ok” on Facebook.
Patnaree Chankij is accused of insulting the monarchy, and could face the jail sentence if found guilty of the lese majeste charge.
The offence is one of the most heavily punishable by the Thai criminal code, and carries jail sentences of three to fifteen years in prison.
But the cleaner, who also does laundry for a living, says she is simply being punished because of her son who is an activist.
She has portraits of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on her walls, and says she is loyal to him, and would never say anything negative about the royal family.
But she was arrested earlier this month and charged with the offence.
The BBC reports that there have been 60 arrests for lese majeste since a military coup in Thailand in 2014, and that activists say that many are arrested and charged in military courts so are not reported on by the media.
The lawyer for the cleaner has said the only evidence held by police was that she responded to a message from a political activist with the word “ja”, meaning “ok” or “I see”.
She said she believes that her son, Sirawith Seritiwat is the reason behind her arrest, not because of anything she wrote.
Groups of activists have fought against the new government since the coup, and challenge the Thai military.