[Thailand] Editor sentenced for defamatory articles

English PEN joins the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International in protesting the harsh sentence handed down to prominent activist and magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk on 23 January 2013.  

According to our information, on 23 January 2013 Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was found guilty of lèse majesté offenses for two articles he had published in Voice of Taksin magazine. Prueksakasemsuk was sentenced to five years in prison for each count of violating Article 112 of the Penal Code, which prohibits acts of insulting, defaming or threatening Thailand’s king, heir apparent or Regent.

Although the articles in question were originally published in 2010, Prueksakasemsuk was not arrested until April 2011, shortly after he had launched a campaign to gather support for a parliamentary review of Article 112.

Prior to sentencing, Somyot Pruekasakasemsuk had had twelve applications for bail denied by the authorities. He is also reported to have been ill-treated during his 20 months of pre-trial detention. On 30 August 2012, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Pruekasakasemsuk’s detention was arbitrary and called for his immediate and unconditional release.  

Prueksakasemsuk , who suffers from hypertension and gout, is expected to appeal the sentence.

For more information, please see ‘Thailand: Editor Convicted for Insulting Monarchy’ (Human Rights Watch)

TAKE ACTION

Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the harsh sentence handed down to prominent activist and editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk ;
  • Calling for his immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Thailand is a state party;
  • Expressing alarm about the continued use of lèse majesté laws to criminalise free expression, and urging an amendment to Article 112 of the Penal Code in order to end the imprisonment of writers, journalists and publishers.

Appeals to:

His Excellency Mr Pasan Teparak
Royal Thai Embassy
29-30 Queen’s Gate
London
SW7 5JB
Fax: 0207 823 7492
Email: thaiduto@btinternet.com  

Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra
Government House
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300, Thailand
Fax: +662 280 0858; +66 2 288 4016
Email opm@opm.go.th
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

Minister of Justice
Pracha Promnok
Ministry of Justice
22/f Software Park Building,
Chaeng Wattana Road,
Pakkred Nonthaburi 11120, Thailand
Fax: +662 502 6699; +662 502 6734; +662 502 6884
Email: om@moj.go.th
Salutation: Dear Minister

And copies to:
National Human Rights Commission
120 Chaengwattana Road
Laksi District
Bangkok 10210
E-mail : info@nhrc.or.th

 

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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