Political activist freed by Thai King

BANGKOK (AFP) – A Thai political activist imprisoned under the kingdom’s controversial laws against insulting the monarchy was released after receiving a royal pardon. Mr Surachai Danwattananusorn, 71, was sentenced to a total of 12 years and six months in jail in 2012 on a series of charges for remarks made in speeches to supporters of his “Red Siam” group. “I feel very happy and extremely appreciative for the mercy of the king,” Mr Surachai told AFP after his release. “Without the royal pardon, I would have been there until I’m 80,” added the activist, who served two years and seven months in the high-security Bangkok Remand Prison including pre-trial detention.

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