After 21 months of detention, Red Shirt activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was dealt a devastating 10 year sentence on two counts of lèse majesté for two articles he did not write. Despite the long and arduous appeal process ahead, Somyot is determined to prove his innocence.
In order to defend his case effectively, Somyot recognizes his pressing need for bail. But with 13 rejected bail requests behind him, he is looking for new approaches to fight for his fundamental human right.
The most recent bail denial came on February 4th. The Appeals Court stated in its dismissal that the case “was serious and affected the feelings and good morals of the public” and that Somyot might run from his charges.
They keep denying me bail on the basis that I might flee the country. I have every intention to fight my case to the end, but I can’t do it behind bars.
The allegedly defamatory articles were printed in the February 2010 edition of the now defunct Voice of Thaksin magazine, where Somyot was acting editor. They failed to provoke any controversy until Somyot was targeted by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the military for his refusal to corroborate the claim that the “men in black” were acting under the UDD’s authority in April-May 2010.
Somyot was also told to cease the publication of Voice of Thaksin, to which he complied by renaming the magazine Red Power (still in circulation). He was arrested in April 2011, over a year after the publication of the articles in question.