CHIANG MAI, Thailand (Reuters) - Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej has pardoned a Swiss man jailed for 10 years for defacing royal images, prison chief Chuchart Chailert said on Thursday.
“His Majesty has granted him a pardon and we released him on Tuesday,” said the head of the prison in the northern city of Chiang Mai where 57-year-old Oliver Rudolf Jufer was sent after being sentenced last month.
“He now feels guilty about what he has done and is grateful for the royal pardon,” Chuchart told Reuters on the eve of the Thai New Year.
The pardon for Jufer, who immigration police said was due to leave for Switzerland on Thursday, was not a surprise. King Bhumibol has said forcefully in public he is not above criticism and who usually pardons people jailed for lese majeste.
Jufer, a longtime resident of Thailand, was arrested in Chiang Mai for spraying black paint on several portraits of King Bhumibol, 79, whom many Thais revere as semi-divine, and Queen Sirikit.
He was initially sentenced to 20 years in jail, but the judge reduced the term because Jufer, facing up to 75 years in prison, pleaded guilty.
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