Thai singer acquitted of royal defamation charge

BANGKOK — A Thai court has acquitted a prominent singer of the charge of royal defamation, the second time this week the serious offense has been dropped against an activist.

The Ratchaburi Provincial Court ruled Friday that even though Thanat Thanavacharanon — whose stage name is Tom Dundee — had pleaded guilty, the evidence did not support the charge. He is already serving a prison sentence of 10 years, 10 months after being convicted twice on the same charge.

Critics say the defamation law is used to punish political dissidents, especially under the military government that took power in 2014. But a human rights lawyer was acquitted of the charge Wednesday, although convicted of sedition.

Thanat was also acquitted in March in a third lese majeste case against him.

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