Conviction of Thai labour activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk condemned
By the Socialist Party of Malaysia
January 23, 2012 -- Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) is deeply concerned and disappointed over the verdict of Thai court today that sentenceed labour activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk to 10 years of imprisonment for charges under the Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law) and another year of imprisonment for a violation of printing act in 2009, totaling 11 years of jail terms.
The PSM is of the view that those charges and convictions of Somyot are politically motivated, with the aim to suppress the right to freedom of expression and activism of political dissidents who not adhere to the will of ruling elite in Thailand.
The prosecution and conviction of Somyot are regressive and push the country back to the Middle Ages. Such persecution against a political activist is devastating to the democratic process in Thailand.
One political prisoner is one too many. The PSM calls upon the authorities of Thailand to free all political prisoners including Somyot, and abolish the repressive lèse-majesté law.
[Released by Choo Chon Kai, central committee member, Socialist Party of Malaysia / Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)]
International condemnation of the conviction of activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk
Amsterdam, January 23, 2013 -- The Clean Clothes Campaign, together with the Free Somyot Campaign and the Thai Labour Campaign, strongly deplores the conviction of human rights defender and magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk. Today, the Bangkok Criminal Court found him guilty on both counts of Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law*) and sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment imprisonment (10 years for both counts and plus one more year for a violation of the Printing Act in 2009).
Somyot is a prisoner of conscience. He was convicted solely for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to participate in public life. He has been in detention since April 2011for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch. Today's verdict is a serious blow to the rule of law in Thailand and will further contribute to self-censorship.
The verdict is a violation of international human rights law, in particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand has ratified. Currently, Thailand is running for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. We recall that the UN Charter urges the General Assembly, where the election takes place, to consider candidates’ contribution “to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization” (article 23.1 on criteria of membership of UNSC) including “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms” (article 1.3 of the UN Charter).
If Thailand is to be in compliance with its binding international legal obligations to respect and protect basic rights, this unjust verdict against Somyot should be promptly overturned on appeal. Additionally, while the appeal is being considered, his constitutional right to provisional release should be upheld so that he could reunite with his family, better attend to his medical conditions, and adequately prepare for his defence.
One political prisoner is one too many. We call on Thailand to free Somyot and all other persons detained on politically motivated charges and end all forms of harassment against them.
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*Thailand’s lèse-majesté law prohibits any word or act, which “defames, insults, or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent, or the Regent”. This law places the country in contravention of its international legal obligations to uphold international standards of freedom of expression.
Thai Labour Campaign
Mobile: +668-50441778Outside Thailand
International Coordinator Clean Clothes Campaign
+31 6 51280210
Free Somyot Campaign