30. April 2013 - Der zweite Jahrestag von Somyot Prueksakasemsuks Inhaftierung
Commentary by Nicola Glass
(Written 23 January 2014)
It had been exactly a year ago when I had attended a court session along with several of my media colleagues. On 23 January 2013 Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was found guilty of violating Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code, also known as the lèse-majesté-law, by publishing two articles that were deemed insulting to the royal family. Both articles were written by another author under a pseudonym. In addition Somyot was also handed a one-year-sentence for a separate defamation case.
Somyot is a prominent labour activist, human rights defender and editor in Thailand, spending his whole life supporting workers' rights and helping to establish democratic trade unionism in Thailand. He is also an outspoken critic who has denounced military coups and political injustice. He has become one of the victims of Thailand's controversial lèse-majesté-law, the most draconian of its kind in the world, which curbs freedom of expression and causes Thailand-based journalists to exercise self-censorship (as I have mentioned in a recent blog post http://yanawa.blogspot.com/…/what-lies-ahead-for-thailand-a…) – except for those very few journalists who are indeed braver than the usual mainstream. The lives of those who were put behind bars or being charged of allegedly breaching 112 and of their families and friends have been put upside down.
Anyway, Thailand´s human rights record is abysmal. No government, including the current caretaker administration, has ever taken a serious stance against the widespread human rights violations. I would like to recommend the following link:
Regarding the ongoing political crisis, I guess, Thailand´s future looks bleak. One has to keep asking why Suthep and his whistle mobbers – a movement that aggressively rejects democratic process, that swore to oust a democratically elected government, and that violates the rights of the people to vote - are being treated as if they were a legitimate challenge?
I would also like to point out, that there are more and more questions coming up about the future of Thai society. It is absolutely necessary to remind people - as my distinguished Thai colleague Pravit Rojanaphruk wrote - that “we also need to try harder to look at the bigger picture”:
A pictur series - eine Fotoserie
Location/Ort: Government House Bangkok, Regierungssitz Bangkok, Phitsanulok Road/Straße
Time/Uhrzeit: from/ab 10.00 a.m./Uhr morgens
Demands/Forderungen: Free all political prisoners/Freilassung aller politischen Gefangenen
UPDATE FROM 23.January 2015
PRESS RELEASE - THE OBSERVATORY
Thailand: Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk must be released on bail
Paris-Geneva, January 23, 2015 - Thailand’s Supreme Court must immediately release on bail human rights defender Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk, as a first step towards his unconditional release, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH-OMCT joint programme, said today.
The Observatory made the call on the third anniversary of the Bangkok Criminal Court’s conviction of Somyot on charges of lèse-majesté (Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code), on January 23, 2012. Somyot is the Editor of the magazine “Voice of Thaksin” (Voice of the Oppressed) and a free speech advocate who called for the amendment of Thailand’s lèse-majesté laws.
“The Thai judiciary’s determination to keep Somyot behind bars pending trial as if he were a dangerous criminal is absurd,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji. “The Supreme Court must immediately order his release on bail under reasonable and appropriate conditions and expedite the appeal process.”
On November 19, 2014, Somyot filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against his conviction. Somyot remains incarcerated in Bangkok Remand Prison pending his appeal. He has been detained since his arrest on April 30, 2011. Somyot suffers from gout and hypertension and is not receiving adequate medical treatment at Bangkok Remand Prison. Court officials have denied Somyot’s requests for bail 16 times - the last time on November 18.
On September 19, 2014, the Court of Appeals upheld the Bangkok Criminal Court’s lèse-majesté conviction of Mr. Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk. The court failed to inform Somyot, his lawyer, and his family members that the hearing would take place on that day.
“Somyot’s ongoing deprivation of liberty is in violation of Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Thailand is a State party, which elucidates the principle that release pending trial must be the rule and detention the exception,” said OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock.
Eleven people, including Somyot, are currently serving prison terms after being found guilty of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code. In addition, at least another 16 remain detained on lèse-majesté charges.
For more information, please contact:
FIDH: Arthur Manet / Audrey Couprie: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
OMCT: Miguel Martin Zumalacarregui: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 24
More on Somyot:
Press conference on 14th July 2013
Somyots appeal against his 11 year prison term
Run For Freedom
Art For Freedom
The Somyot verdict
Prachatai: Thanthawuts testimony at court about the treatment of Khun Ah-Kong
Polenghi/Somyot/Mainueng Kor Kunthee