Annual Prison Census 2013 - Thailand
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||18 December 2013|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2013 - Thailand, 18 December 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/52b83bb926.html [accessed 24 October 2016]|
Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2013
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, Voice of Taksin
Imprisoned: April 30, 2011
Somyot was arrested at a Thai border checkpoint at Aranyaprathet province while attempting to cross into neighboring Cambodia. He was held without bail in a Bangkok detention center for 84 days, the maximum period allowable under Thai criminal law, before formal lèse majesté charges were filed against him on July 26, 2011.
Somyot faced a possible prison term of 30 years on two separate charges under the country's lèse majesté law, which prohibits material deemed offensive to the royal family. Convictions under the law carry a maximum of 15-year jail terms.
On January 23, 2013, a Bangkok criminal court sentenced Somyot to 11 years in prison for news articles judges deemed insulting to Thai monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej. The charges stemmed from two articles that were published in the now-defunct Voice of Taksin, a highly partisan newsmagazine affiliated with the political group United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship.
Somyot, a labor activist and political protest leader, was founder and editor of the controversial publication. He had initially refused to divulge the name of the author of the articles, but during his court testimony identified the individual as Jakrapob Penkair, a former government spokesman now living in self-imposed exile in Cambodia. The articles, published in February and March 2010, were written under the penname "Jit Polachan."
Days before his initial arrest, Somyot had launched a petition campaign to pressure parliament into amending the lèse majesté law, known as Article 112 in the Thai penal code. Under the law, any Thai individual may file lèse majesté charges; Thai royal family members have never personally filed charges. L?se majesté charges have been abused for political purposes by both sides of the country's protracted political conflict.
Somyot appealed the conviction. No date for the appeal was set in late 2013. He was being held at Bangkok's Remand Prison.