Further updated: Two political prisoners going to trial

17 06 2010

Update 1: AP reports that both men were “charged Thursday with inciting violence and committing other crimes that could lead to two years in prison. Both men denied the charges, which allege they violated an emergency decree imposed during the two-month protests and still in effect. Street clashes between so-called Red-Shirt protesters and government forces killed almost 90 people and injured over 1,400 before they were ended last month.”

Purcell

Interestingly, it is reported that Savage “screamed abusive comments about Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as he was led past reporters, calling him ‘a murderer’ and insulting Abhisit’s wife.”

Update 2: There is an earlier and short report at the BBC on Savage.

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AFP has a report on the Australian man, Conor David Purcell, 30, from Perth, charged with violating Thailand’s emergency laws by addressing anti-government rallies in May. While some have questioned his role, the Abhisit Vejjajiva government has charged him under a political law. He is to face a court this week.

Originally detained over breaches of immigration laws, he was then “charged under the emergency laws that include restrictions on assembly and controls over the media.” He is accused of addressing crowds at the red shirt rally at Rajaprasong. Purcell faces up to two years jail if he is found guilty.

Savage

A 49-year old Briton, Jeff Savage, has also been charged with breaches of the emergency laws that came in force on May 7. Neither has appeared in the lists of detainees released by the police or the government. It is not known when the Briton will be put before one of the regime’s politicized courts.

Purcell has allegedly been bashed while in prison: “In late May he was bashed in jail by up to seven prison trustees, fellow inmates trusted by the prison guards, with bamboo sticks that left welts and bruising to his back and shoulders. He suffered body spasms and he was placed in a maximum security cell with up to 30 other inmates.”

Such bashings are not uncommon in Thai prisons, carried out at the behest of the authorities. Political prisoners are always at risk in Thai jails.

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5 07 2010



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