13 January 2013

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action alert for Somyot Prueksakasemsuk ahead of the verdict in his lèse majesté trial scheduled for 23 January.

The appeal, which can be expected to trigger a deluge of messages to the Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and National Human Rights Commission from Amnesty International members around the world, names Somyot as a Prisoner of Conscience.  It also notes that Article 112 of the Criminal Code violates the right to freedom of expression under international human rights law and contravenes Thailand’s obligations as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

URGENT ACTION
EDITOR AT RISK OF UNJUST SENTENCE IN THAILAND

Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a labour activist and editor of the Voice of Taksin, is a prisoner of conscience. He has been detained since April 2011, having been charged in relation to publishing articles deemed critical of Thailand’s monarchy. Authorities have repeatedly turned down his requests for bail.

In May 2012, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk’s trial ended; he is still awaiting the verdict. The court has rescheduled the date for announcing the verdict three times, most recently from 19 December to 23 January 2013.

He was arrested on 30 April 2011, shortly after launching a campaign to gather support for a parliamentary review of Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code. He was charged and tried under Article 112 which prohibits any word or act which “defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent”. The charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years’ imprisonment for each offence.

Since 2006, authorities in Thailand have increasingly used Article 112 to silence peaceful dissent. Article 112 violates the right to freedom of expression under international human rights law, as it goes far beyond permissible restrictions of this right. Thailand is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and is legally bound to uphold the right to freedom of expression.
Please write immediately in Thai, English or your own language:

– Expressing concern that Somyot Prueksakasemsuk has been detained on account of his peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression;
– Calling for charges against him to be dropped, and for him to be immediately and unconditionally released from detention;
– Calling for him to be given redress for the months he has spent in detention and for the authorities to amend Article 112 so that it complies with Thailand’s obligations under international human rights law, and to suspend its use until it has been amended in such a way.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 22 JANUARY 2013 TO:

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

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

 

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