The Appeal Court on Friday affirmed the decision of the Court of First Instance to sentence Somyos Prueksakasemsuk to 10 years in jail for editing lèse majesté articles written by others.
 
Somyos Prueksakasemsuk has been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison for almost four years.
 
He was found guilty of being the editor of Voice of Taksin monthly magazine which published two articles deemed to insult the King.  

The two articles were written in the magazine under the pen name of 'Jit Polachan’, believed to be Jakrapob Penkair, a Thai politician living in self-exile in Cambodia, in February and March 2010.

 

Somyos (File photo taken in 2013)

In one article, Jit Polachan tells the story of a fictional character called “Luang Narueban of the Ghost Hotel”. The Court interpreted the story as defaming the Thai King.
 
In January 2013, the Court of First Instance sentenced Somyos to ten years imprisonment without suspension.
 
In January 2013, Somyos took his case to the Appeal Court and argued that according to the law on publications, editors are not be held liable for any content published under their authorisation. However, the Appeal Court dismissed the claim, saying that the charges filed against him are under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, not the Press Act.
 
On 23 January 2013, he was also sentenced to one additional year of imprisonment for defaming Gen Saphrang Kalayanamit.
 
None of Somyos’s family members and lawyers were presented at the court on Friday because they were not informed by the court in advance.
 
“The fact that the authority didn’t inform on the day that the verdict’s going to be delivered is not in accordance with the rule and is not transparent. I missed an opportunity to listen to the verdict myself, especially when the court affirmed the verdict. This greatly affected him. I wanted to come and supported him, but I couldn’t,” said Sukanya.
 

 

Read more...
BANGKOK, 19 September 2014: The British Embassy in Bangkok issued a statement on behalf of the UK warning citizens to exercise caution while travelling in Thailand after two British tourists were murdered on Tao island in Surat Thani on Monday. The embassy noted in the website message that 800,000 British nationals visit Thailand every year. [...] Read more...
BANGKOK, 19 September 2014: The Tourism Authority of Thailand is launching its ‘ASEAN to Thailand’ project with the key objective of enhancing recognition of Thailand as an attractive and fun place to visit in the heart of ASEAN. Media trips are the core feature of the promotion that will be organised this month to key [...] Read more...
FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights
and its member organization in Thailand
 
Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
 
Joint press release
 
Thailand: Students and academics arrested for organizing democracy talk
 
 
Paris, 19 September 2014: Thailand’s military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) must immediately stop harassing and arbitrarily detaining students and academics who exercise their right to freedom of expression, FIDH and its member organization UCL said today. On 18 September, police in Pathumthani Province, located just north of Bangkok, stopped a panel discussion about democracy and arrested four academics and three students who had organized the event.
 
“Yesterday’s arrest of students and academics is yet another ominous reminder of the military junta’s intolerance for any dissenting voices,” said FIDH President Karim Lahidji. “In light of the ongoing arbitrary arrests and severe restrictions on freedom of expression, the junta’s claim that it respects human rights is a poorly-disguised pretense,” Mr. Lahidji added.
 
Academics Nithi Eeosiwong, Prajak Kongkirati, Janjira Sombatphunsiri, Chaowarit Chaosengrat and students Worrawut Wongsamart, Rattapon Supasopon, and Sorrawit Serivivat were arrested during the presentation of a university-sanctioned event titled “Democracy Classroom: Fall of Foreign Dictators” at the Rangsit campus of the prestigious Thammasat University. The purpose of the event was to discuss the demise of dictatorial regimes around the world. After being arrested, they were taken to the Klong Luang police station where they were interrogated for several hours and denied access to a legal representative. They were all released without being charged.
 
The 18 September arrests follow a similar act of repression earlier in the month. On 2 September, the NCPO forced human rights activists to cancel a panel discussion titled “Access to Justice in Thailand: Currently Unavailable.” Organizers had planned to hold the public event at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok to launch a report detailing the human rights situation in Thailand during the first 100 days of military rule. No one was arrested on that occasion.
 
“The NCPO must stop committing human rights violations. Banning public discussions about democracy and human rights goes against Article 4 of the junta-approved interim constitution, which protects all rights and liberties guaranteed by international treaties to which Thailand is a State party,” said UCL Chairman Jaturong Boonyarattanasoontorn.
 
In an attempt to stifle all dissent since seizing power on 22 May 2014, the NCPO has summoned or arbitrarily detained scores of academics, writers, and journalists. According to the Internet Dialogue on Law Reform (iLaw), as of 13 September, military and police had arrested at least 280 people, including 105 in connection with peaceful anti-coup demonstrations.
 
 
 
Read more...

 

The Bangkok Military Court on Thursday sentenced three peaceful anti-coup protesters to six months’ imprisonment and fines of 10,000 baht, but with the jail terms suspended.

Because the three defendants pleaded guilty, the court decided to halve the sentences to three months and a fine of 5,000 baht each and suspended the jail terms for two years. 

Woraphon Vichasut, Nattawut Nuchanarot, and Sumet Virojchaiyan took part in anti-coup protests in late May 2014.

All three were charged for defying martial law which prohibits public assemblies of more than five people. 

Woraphon took part in an anti-coup activity of “eating McDonald's against the coup” at the fast-food restaurant in Bangkok’s shopping district of Ratchaprasong Intersection on 25 May. He was arrested and detained for seven days without charge, the maximum length of detention allowed by martial law. 

 

The soldiers controled the area in fron of Amarin Plaza to suppress the anti-coup protesters in Ratchaprasong

 

Nattawut protested on 31 May in front of a McDonald's restaurant in Pathumwan District, carrying a sign saying “Election Only”. He was also arrested and detained for seven days.

Sumet was found guilty of inciting approximately 100 people in front of the Fortune Town shopping complex on Bangkok’s Rama IX Road to oppose the coup. 

All of them were granted bailed after their seven-day detention before the military court hearing today.

This, however, is not the case for Panmanee Chuchao and Sombat Komaiphan, two other anti-coup defendants, who were tried on Thursday.

On 28 May Panmanee released air from the tyre of a military vehicle at the Victory Monument, and Sombat Komaiphan spray-painted military vehicles.

Besides being charged with defying the junta’s prohibition against protests, the two were also charged with intentionally causing damage to military property and harming military personnel. 

The two confessed that they defied the junta’s order and caused damage to military property. However, they denied harming military officers at the time of their arrest.

The military court scheduled the next witness hearing on 26 November.    

 

Read more...
BANGKOK, 18 September 2014: Association of Thai Travel Agents’ member companies handled 1,710,608 international tourists at Suvarnabhumi Airport during January to August, representing a decline of 42.66% from 2,983,139 visits during the same period last year. ATTA released its data, Tuesday, based on fees member agencies pay Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport to provide a meet-and-greet services [...] Read more...
BANGKOK, 18 September 2014: Thailand’s military ruler on Wednesday questioned whether tourists in bikinis are safe in the kingdom, in comments following the murder of two Britons whose battered bodies were found on a Thai island. David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, were found dead on the southern island of Tao island on Monday, [...] Read more...