Annual Prison Census 2011 - Thailand
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||8 December 2011|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2011 - Thailand, 8 December 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f0420a628.html [accessed 18 April 2015]|
Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2011
Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, Voice of Taksin
Imprisoned: April 30, 2011
Somyot was arrested on April 30 at a Thai border checkpoint at Aranyaprathet province while attempting to cross into neighboring Cambodia. Agence France-Presse reported that police first issued a warrant for his arrest on April 12. 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.
The charges stemmed from two articles deemed critical of Thai monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej that were published in the now-defunct Voice of Taksin, a highly partisan newsmagazine affiliated with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship street protest group. (The magazine had been accused in the past of running articles that incited UDD followers to violence.)
Somyot, a labor activist and political protest leader, was founder and editor of the controversial publication. According to local media reports, he refused to reveal the identity of the author who wrote the contested articles in February and March 2010, both of which were published under the pseudonym Jit Polachan, according to local news reports.
On November 1, a criminal court refused a bail application submitted by Somyot's lawyer. He faced a possible prison term of 30 years. Lèse majesté charges in Thailand carry a maximum of 15-year jail terms and have been abused for political purposes by both sides of Thailand's protracted political conflict. His trial began in late year.