A man holds a photo of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, while showing paddy seeds collected after the annual royal ploughing ceremony in in central Bangkok May 9, 2012. (REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom)
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Washington's envoy to Thailand Wednesday expressed concern about the "unprecedented" prison terms handed down under the kingdom's draconian royal defamation law, saying no one should be jailed for peacefully expressing their opinion.Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 87 – the world's longest serving monarch – is revered and perceived as a near-deity by many in the country.He is also shielded by one of the world's strictest royal defamation laws, prosecutions under which have surged since the military seized power from an elected government in May 2014 .Davies, who has only been in his role for around nine weeks, stressed the deep respect and admiration the U.S. held for the Thai monarch before asserting his point on the right to express opinions freely.Thailand is a longtime ally of the U.S. but the relationship between the two nations has been strained since last year's coup, which Washington strongly condemned.
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