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S.Prueksakasemsuk, Thailand, jailed since April 2011

S.Prueksakasemsuk, Thailand, jailed since April 2011

Article ID:

17632

Day 11
Country: Thailand
Journalist: Somyot Prueksakasemsuk
Media: Voice of Taksin
Jailed since: April 2011

Suggested Tweets:

#FreethePress calls for the release of Thai journalist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk bit.ly/1n5Nj3G

#FreethePress calls on #Thailand PM @PouYingluck to release journalist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk bit.ly/1hEbdBq


An outspoken activist and magazine editor, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was sentenced in January 2013 to 11 years in a Thai prison on charges of defaming the country's monarchy. He had been in detention since April 2011. A Bangkok criminal court convicted him for two articles published in his magazine Voice of Taksin that the royal family deemed insulting.

Share our protest letter bit.ly/1hEbdBq

However, some observers have pointed out that Somyot was not targeted for his words, but for trying to reform the country's strict lèse-majesté laws. Designed to protect Thailand's royal family, these laws are often deployed for political reasons and have increasingly come under the international spotlight.

At the time of his arrest, Somyot was intent on decreasing the maximum penalty for the century-old law from 15 years to three, and scrapping the minimum sentence, which currently stands at three years, all together. However, the majority of Thai people are banned from having any discussion about the country's defamation laws – and this included Somyot. He was sentenced to five years for each article, including the one year he had already spent in custody.

Since November 2014, political tensions that have long simmered in Thailand erupted into large-scale anti-government protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. During this time the country has continued its clampdown on press and Internet freedoms. Authorities have warned social media users that clicking “like” or sharing comments could amount to a criminal act punishable by imprisonment. The country’s strict royal defamation laws have also secured Thailand a low rank on Reporters Without Borders' annual press freedom index, where the country currently sits at 130th out of 180.


Suggested Tweets:

#FreethePress calls for the release of Thai journalist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk bit.ly/1n5Nj3G

#FreethePress calls on #Thailand PM @PouYingluck to release journalist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk bit.ly/1hEbdBq


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wm_WanIfra

Date

2014-04-14 10:49

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Andrew Heslop

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