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 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 15-year jail term.

On January 23, 2013 a Bangkok criminal court sentenced Somyot to 11 years in prison for news articles judges deemed insulting to the Thai monarchy. The charges stemmed from two articles 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 initially refused to divulge the name of the author of the articles, but during court testimony identified the individual as Jakrapob Penkair, a former government spokesman now living in self-imposed exile. The articles, published in February and March 2010, were written under the pen name "Jit Polachan."

Days before his initial arrest, Somyot had started a petition 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.

Somyot filed an appeal on April 1, 2013. Throughout more than three years of his detention, he has been denied bail on 15 separate occasions on the grounds that he may flee the country.

On September 18, 2014, Thailand's Court of Appeals upheld Somyot's conviction and 10-year jail sentence. The court failed to inform Somyot, his defense lawyers, and his family that the hearing would take place on that day, according to local news reports. Somyot, who has hypertension, has been deprived of adequate medical treatment while in detention, according to the International Federation of Human Rights, a federation of rights groups. He was being held at Bangkok's Remand Prison. Details of his health have not been disclosed.

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