“I would not be the last victim as long as we are still trapped in the rule which is essentially a dictatorship, but is falsely portrayed as a democracy to the world. I shall fight for freedom until my last breath. I may agree to shed my freedom, but not my humanity."(written from prison by Somyot Prueksakasemsuk ,holding cell, Crime Suppression Division,
Bangkok 8.30 am, May 2, 2011)
|Somyot Prueksakasemsuk at the Criminal Court 19.12.2012|
UPDATE: For the verdict of 23. January 2013 CLICK HERE!
The accusations and arrestSomyot Prueksakasemsuk was arrested on April 30th 2011 at the Aranyaprathet border checkpoint (Sa Keaw province) after the immigration officer Mrs. Pol Sen Sgt Maj Kanokrak Tanlo checked his passport and recognised he was searched for with an arrest warrant for violating section 112 of the Criminal Code. Allegedly he worked as a tour guide that day and wanted to lead a group of tourists to Cambodia. But there might have been other reasons for him to cross the border. In an interview with the German correspondent Nicola Glass during a red shirt protest in front of the UN-building he explained: "In fact, the government banned the printing house (closed the print office) but not banned the Red Power magazine. We are going to lead out (deliver) the magazine again. And this magzine is going to be printed in our neighbouring country Cambodia and we will import it to Thailand. We will smuggle our magazine across the border. That means in Thai society we have no freedom to express ideas or freedom of speech." (Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, 26.10.2010) http://www.dradio.de/dlf/sendungen/hintergrundpolitik/1495239/ (report in German language)
Between his release from his first detention in 2010 and his arrest in 2011 he crossed the border to Cambodia four times without any problems.
The DSI (Departmend of Special Investigation) could have arrested him at home anytime, his home address was no secret and he was not on the run. On the contrary, he was politically active in public (see images below) and working as an editor. If I could find him and take pictures without problems, why couldn't the police or the DSI? Instead they were waiting until he was leaving the country. This behaviour of the authorities reminds me of the arrest of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who was arrested on September 24th 2010 at Suvarnabhumi airport when she returned from an internet conference in Budapest. Why at the airport? The police knew where she lived and they knew the address of the Prachatai office. She, however, was released after paying 200,000 Baht in bail (see footnote #1).
|October 26 th 2010, Somyot joined the red shirt protest at the UN-building at Ratchdamnoen Nok road.|
|On January 25th 2011 Somyot staged a protest with members and supportes of his 24th June democracy group at the Democracy Monument .|
Somyot is charged as responsible editor-in-chief of publishing (not writing!) two articles in the "Voice Of Thaksin" magazine, written by Jit Pollachan, a pseudonym for the fugitive Jakrapob Penkair (see footnote #2). The pseudonym Jit Pollachan was made up of the Thai left wing thinkers Jit (or Chit) Phumisak, a poet, historian and communist (murdered 1966) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chit_Phumisak and Asanee Pollachan. Both articles were considered offensive to the monarchy.
The prosecutor accused Somyot that both articles were violating section 112 of the Criminal Code (see footnote #3).
It has also to be mentioned, that his arrest came just five days after the launch of a campaign to demand a parliamentary review of Section 112 of the criminal code. The Democracy Network, of which Somyot was a member, tried to collect 10.000 signatures for the petition to the parliament.
|Somyot Prueksakasemsuk at the Criminal Court December 19th 2012|
Knowing about the poor health of Somyot, who is suffering from hypertension and gout, this behaviour by the authorities is not comprehensible. Particularly due to the fact, that all four witnesses are living and working in Bangkok and therefore it would have been less time-consuming and stressful for Somyot and the witnesses if the hearings were held at the Criminal Court in Bangkok.
|Press briefing on September 7th 2012 with one of his lawyers Karom Polponklang and his wife Sukunya.|
|19th December 2012, the Red Power magazine being sold at the Criminal Court canteen!|
|Panitan Pruksakasemsuk went on hungerstrike for 112 hours from 11. - 16. February 2012 to support i.a. the 7th request for release on bail.|
Detention since April 2011At first Somyot was detained in a prison in Sa Keaw, and later, in early November 2011 he was transferred to the Bangkok Remand Prision. During his relocation from Sa Keaw to Bangkok in an overcrowded truck he had to stand the whole time with his ankles chained. Somyot said the living conditions in Sa Kaew prison were better than those of Bangkok Remand Prison in terms of food and environment, but it was crowded and overfilled with prisoners. The prisoners have to squeeze tightly together to sleep (sorry, lost the link to this source). During his detention he became known as the librarian of Bangkok Remand Prison.
Some Facts About Somyots Live:
|Somjot's wife Sukunya "Joop" Prueksakasemsuk|
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was also a former project coordinator for ICEM (International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions) in Thailand. He always tried to improve the working and living conditions and the rights of workers, so he joined amongst other things the Clean Clothes Campaign on numerous occations, including the landmark Eden case in the mid-nineties and more recently the MSP case in 2006.
In 2005 he launched a left-wing publishing company. Among other things, it produced paperbacks about the Thai labour movement. As part of the company’s dissemination work, he also organised a series of public debates and seminars and he used online forums and blogs to engage people on issues of Thai politics, labour and social justice as well.