Posted: February 21st, 2012 | Author: Carmen | Filed under: Human Rights, Politics, Thailand
Somyet was arrested by the Department of special Investigation (DSI) and imprisoned without bail since April 30, 2011. According to the DSI he is accused of the violation of section 112 of the Criminal Code, which serves to protect the prestige of the monarchy as Head of state. Somyot is known in Thailand for his establishment of democratic trade unionism. Additionally he was the executive editor of the now-defunct Voice of Thaksin magazine. Furthermore he is the leader of the 24th June Democracy group, and other groups of red shirts. The Democracy group held a press conference on April 25 to start a campaign to collect 10.000 signatures to repeal to the Article 112 of the Criminal Code. The arrest of Somyot is result of his keyrole in this campaign. They arrested him on April 30, when he was trying to leave to exile. This week it is expected that there will be a response on bail request number eight that his lawyer filed in last week.
The Socialist Party of Malaysia said to the Bangkok Post on February 13 that they are concerned that the hearings of the different witnesses are being held outside Bangkok. This has put a tremendous burden on Somyot and his attorneys, as well as restricting the participation of trial observers, which are the diplomatic corps and journalists. There are other concerns that they keep on transporting Somyot from prison to prison and this would be a threat for his health and security. Moreover they view that the authorities have violated Somyot’s Fundamental rights.
Somyot’s only son, Panitan Prueksakasemsuk, a second year student at the Faculty of Law, started a 112- hour hunger strike in front of the Ratchada Criminal Court on February 11. He is demanding to his father’s right, to be released on bail, after its being rejected for several times. The hunger strike of 112-hours is a link to the section 112 which his father is accused of. On February 13 Panitan took its action for attention even further by shaving his head and by handing in a letter to the court asking that his father’s and other similar cases are treated fairly and to allow his father’s bail request.
In an open letter on December 30, 2011 Somyot called the 112 law a criminal law and that it has been used in Thailand to diminish the freedom and rights of the Thai people. Besides that there are many student leaders, politicians and labor unionists who are been killed because of the Lese Majeste law. In addition, many people have been forced into exile to avoid punishment, violations of human rights that are being ignored by Thai society.
After all this is still the opinion of a red shirt member. According to an opinion of a yellow shirt the problems with the 112 law started when Taksin founded the red shirts. Since then 400 followers of the red shirts have been arrested by breaking this law and this is not to be blamed on the law but on themselves.
The answer to the bail request is expected to be announced soon, but probably the input that the Socialist Party of Malaysia and Somyot son gave will not lead to the output they want. Somyot asked his Red shirt followers; ‘I vigorously ask you to continue campaigning against this law, regardless of the personal consequences to me. Even if I spend my entire life as a political prisoner, I will not surrender until my last breath’.