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Somyot’s Legal Team submits Appeal and Bail Requests

20130401_153856At Ratchada Criminal Court on Monday, Sukanya Prueksakasemsuk submitted a request to appeal the decision in the case of her husband Somyot, who was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for lèse majesté, and a previously suspended defamation conviction. She also filed a 14th bail request in the 23 months since Somyot’s arrest on April 30th 2011.

Sukanya was joined by former National Human Rights commissioner Vasant Panich who has joined Somyot’s legal team for the appeal trial. He maintains that, as acting editor of the Red Shirt magazine Voice of ThaksinSomyot could not be criminally responsible for articles that he did not write. 

Mr Vasant said,

There is no law for which Somyot could be charged. In fact, the Printing Act of 2007 ensures that editors are protected from criminal responsibility for material they haven’t authored. If the verdict stands, then that act would become obsolete. 

The ramifications of the Printing Act are significant in Somyot’s case, as he was convicted on two counts of violating article 112 of the criminal code.

Sukanya and Mr Vasant have also requested that the Appeals Court listen to new witnesses. They expect a response to all requests within two weeks.

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112 Trial Concludes for Red Shirt Activist

The trial of Red Shirt activist Akechai Hongkangwarn, accused of violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law, concluded Friday morning at Ratchada Criminal Court. The verdict is set for March 28th. 

Akechai was arrested on March 11th 2011 for allegedly selling video CD recordings of a documentary by the Australian ABC channel on Thailand’s royal institution, but was granted bail on March 18th. Akechai insists that he had no intention to insult or defame the monarchy. 

A dedicated activist and freelance journalist who has worked for the UDD, Akechai is hopeful that the court will decide in his favour.

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Somyot’s Plea for Justice

Convicted Red Shirt prisoner Somyot Prueksakasemsuk recently petitioned the Director of the Criminal Court Mr. Tawee Prajuablab to investigate the facts surrounding his arrest at the Thai-Cambodian border on the 30th of April 2011 and reevaluate his request for bail.

Somyot has been denied bail 13 times on the basis that he was attempting to flee the country when he was intercepted by border officials who have since allegedly opposed granting him bail. In a letter addressed to Mr. Tawee, Somyot explains that such allegations conflict with the facts as well as witness testimony.

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Somyot’s Sentence Exposes the Dark Heart of Thailand

On the 23rd of January, a Criminal Court judge sentenced Red Shirt activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk to 10 years imprisonment for publishing two articles that violated Thailand’s notorious lèse majesté law, enshrined in article 112 of the Thai criminal code. Somyot’s arrest, detention, and verdict betrays Thailand’s disregard for the fundamental human rights that should be at the basis of any true democracy.

Detained for 21 months and denied bail 12 times, Somyot has had his human rights violated by the Thai judicial system from day one. Somyot, his wife Sukanya Prueksakasemsuk, and many in the Red Shirt and anti-112 camp, firmly believe that his arrest in April 2011, under the Abhisit administration, was politically motivated. Not only was Somyot a prominent Red Shirt with a long history of activism on labour issues, he was organizing a petition to challenge, and potentially abolish, article 112. 

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UDD Responds to Democrat Delusion

At a press conference on Friday, the UDD leaders called on the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to reopen their investigation into the death of Boonmee Rermsuk, one of the 98 victims of the 2010 military crackdown, after the Criminal Court failed to establish his killer.

In a unsurprising distortion of logic, the Democrat Party has argued that the Court’s failure to find the authorities guilty is sufficient proof that the protesters were armed and violent. UDD leader Tida Tawornseth maintained that the Red Shirts were not armed in 2010 and the Court has found the Democrat-led authorities guilty in the 4 other cases from 2010 already dealt with by the Thai judicial system. Tida asked the DSI to further investigate the death of Boonmee, also known as “Uncle Boonmee”.

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Red Shirt MP Korkaew has bail revoked, Heavy Restrictions for Other 4

On Friday afternoon, a Criminal Court in Bangkok revoked the bail of Red Shirt MP Korkaew Pikulthong. Along with 23 other Red Shirts, Korkaew is set to stand trial next month for “terrorism” charges. His bail was revoked due to a violation of his original bail conditions that occurred during a speech he made outside of the Parliament building earlier this summer.

Korkaew has been taken to Laksi Prison and is likely to remain there until the 21st of December, when the parliamentary session resumes. The judge upheld the bail of four other Red Shirt MPs, including Dr Weng, Karun, Nattawut and Wophuthalaeng, but under restrictive terms. They are no longer allowed to speak on stage or travel overseas.

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Red Shirt MPs Bail Decision on Friday, “Terrorism” Trial Postponed

On Thursday, 5 Red Shirt MPs presented themselves at Ratchada Criminal Court to determine whether they acted in violation of their bail terms earlier this year during public speeches made while the Constitutional Court was considering the legality of the government’s planned charter amendments.

Korkaew Pikulthong, Dr Weng Tojirakarn, Karun Hosakul, Wophuthalaeng Pattanaphumthai, and Nattawut Saikuar, will return to court on Friday afternoon when the judge could decide to revoked their bail. Korkaew was asked to submit to further questioning in the morning.

The 5 MPs are part of a group of 24 Red Shirts who face “terrorism” charges for alleged conduct during the April-May protests in 2010. The trial was also set to start today but was postponed till the 13th of December because one of the accused was too ill to attend.

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CRES Killed Red Shirt on May 15th 2010- Court

At Bangkok’s Ratchada Court on Monday, a judge ruled that Red Shirt Channarong Ponsrila was killed by soldiers acting under the authority of the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), that was created and managed by the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva during the Red Shirt protests in April-May 2010. The judge cited extensive eyewitness testimony which clearly stated that the two bullets that hit Channarong came from the direction of soldiers.

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