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Thai army boss: Stop criticizing law guarding king

December 20, 2011
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BANGKOK—Thailand's army commander wants an end to calls for reform of a law mandating three to 15 years' imprisonment for people found guilty of insulting the monarchy.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said Tuesday he believes debate over the lese majeste law is excessive, and critics who say it should be amended because it is too harsh and limits free speech should go live abroad.

The military exercises considerable influence in Thailand, in part because of a history of military coups, most recently in 2006.

Criticism of the law has increased since a 61-year-old man was imprisoned for text messages sent from his phone and a Thai-American man was sentenced for material he posted on the Internet while living in the United States.

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