Last Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2016, 09:36 GMT

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 28 July 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2013

Thailand: 1

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.

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