Trial opens for journalists charged with defaming Thai navy

Testimony started Tuesday in a criminal defamation lawsuit the Thai navy has filed against a small news website over a report it posted alleging naval forces accepted money to abet or turn a blind eye to the seaborne trafficking of refugees from Myanmar. Denying the allegation, the navy also charges the two journalists from the Phuketwan website with violating Thailand’s Computer Crime Act by publishing the article online. If found guilty, Australian editor Alan Morison and his Thai colleague Chutima Sidasathien could each face up to seven years in prison and fines totaling 300,000 baht ($8,815). The case has drawn criticism from human rights and press freedom groups around the world.



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