The UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was asked to provide an opinion on the detention without bail of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, held in jail since his arrest on 30 April 2011, and charged under the lese majeste law.
At its meeting in late August 2012, the Working Group considered his case and has issued an Opinion that will appear in the Group’s annual report. In short, the UN’s Working Group has determined that:
“The deprivation of liberty of Mr Prueksakasemsuk, being in contravention of Articles 19 of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] and 19 (2) of the ICCPR [International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights], is arbitrary, and falls in categories II of the categories applicable to the cases submitted to the Working Group.
As a result of the Opinion rendered, the Working Group requests the Government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr Prueksaksemsuk and bring it into conformity with the standards and principles set forth in the ICCPR.
The Working Group believes that, taking into account all circumstances of the case, the adequate remedy would be to release Mr Prueksakasemsuk and accord him and enforceable right to compensation pursuant to Article 9(5) of the ICCPR”.
The full Opinion is available here as a PDF.
This is good news for Somyos and for all others charged and detained under this draconian and political law that has long been used to lock up opponents, limit free speech and intimidate citizens. Whether the Opinion will see any action from the Yingluck Shinawatra government is doubtful, however, as this government has adopted a political strategy that means it is timid and cowed before the conservative royalist elite.