'Insulting the king': Bail denied
Somyot did not write the articles for the publication for which he has been sentenced. Nor did he force the authors to write the articles. In September 2014 the Thai Appeal Court upheld the sentence of eleven years imprisonment for Somyot.
Inspired by Somyot and his family, the Clean Clothes Campaign will continue to denounce the arbitrary detention of Somyot, and calls for his immediate release on bail, as well as demanding that the review of his judgement, expected to take 2-3 years, be expedited without further delay.
From behind bars Somyot says:
“I would have gained my freedom if I had only made a confession to incriminate myself and others as they wish. But how can such freedom remain meaningful and valuable, when I would be locked up as a prisoner of my own conscience - as such a confession would be a crime committed against people who dream of freedom and equality”.
2014: deterioration after coup
On International Worker's Day in 2014, May 1st, the Clean Clothes Campaign joined many organisations within and outside Thailand in calling for Somyot's release through the media and a worldwide Facebook action.
However, with the military coup in Thailand in May 2014, there is more pressure on Thai human rights defenders to not “disturb the order” and to keep quiet. On May 25th Sukanya Prueksakasemsuk, who is married to Somyot and is also a human rights activist, and their son Panitan, a student activist, were arbitrarily arrested by the Thai junta. They were released the next day on the condition that they refrain from participating in political activities and from making public statements.
The Clean Clothes Campaign and other international human rights organisations continue to raise Somyot's case as a fundamental human rights case that urgently needs to be resolved.
Somyot, a Thai labour rights activist, human rights defender and magazine editor, has been in detention since April 2011 for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the king. He was sentenced to eleven years imprisonment in January 2013, with an appeal still pending.
The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has been lobbying international bodies for awareness and action, together with the Free Somyot campaign group and other organisations
CCC continues to call upon the Thai authorities to drop all charges against Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and all other human rights defenders detained under the lèse majesté laws. CCC asks that, as a minimum, Somyot will be released on bail. CCC also asks that all human rights defenders in Thailand be able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of judicial or other harassment.