Wife of convicted Thai lèse-majesté activist Somyot in Geneva
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 30, 2011 for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch. On January 23 2012, the Bangkok Criminal Court found him guilty on 2 counts of Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law*) and sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment.
The verdict undermines the right to freedom of expression and press freedom. It is a violation of international human rights law, in particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand has ratified. In August 2012, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared Somyot's detention to be in violation of international human rights law. The EU and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have also issued strong statements against the verdict.
Despite the efforts both by his family and the ongoing international campaigns which call for Somyot’ release, Somyot’s 15th bail application has been denied.
Joop Prueksakasemsuk says: “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 me, his family. This will also better his medical conditions and at home he can adequately prepare for his defense. Every political prisoner is one too many.”
CCC calls on Thailand to free Somyot and all other persons detained on politically-motivated charges and end all forms of harassment against them to ensure that no one would be criminalised for peacefully exercising their fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression
*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.