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In March, a Thai court sentenced Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul _ the operator of an anti-government website _ to 13 years on charges of defaming the monarchy and three more years for violating the Computer Crime Act. The 38-year-old ran a website affiliated with the anti-government Red Shirt movement whose aggressive street protests last year deteriorated into violence and were quashed by the army.

The 2007 Computer Crime Act addresses hacking and other traditional online offenses, but also bars the circulation of material deemed detrimental to national security or that causes panic. It carries a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 baht ($3,285).