Two years of PPT, part I

19 01 2011

In a very real way, the second anniversary of Political Prisoners in Thailand is not a birthday to be celebrated. When we began Political Prisoners in Thailand on 21 January 2009, we anticipated that it would be a temporary endeavor. Instead, two years later, we have grown exponentially in terms of writing and readership.

Unfortunately, we do not anticipate being able to end our work anytime soon. There are now more people jailed for a range of political crimes in Thailand today than there were in 2009.

Initially, we saw a gap in the work that existing news and human rights organizations were doing in terms of keeping track of the various political detention cases, which at the time were all related to charges under Article 112 (the lese majeste law) and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act. In the years since then, the cases under these two instruments have grown exponentially, harsh sentences have been handed down for the utterance of a few words, and new categories of political prisoners have emerged. We also declared, from the beginning, that we wanted to draw attention to human rights abuses more broadly.

The most striking events in the current political crisis in Thailand have been the 19 September 2006 coup and the red shirt uprisings of 2009 and 2010 and their violent suppression. Equally worrying has been the expansion of repression and censorship.

The flip-side of expanding repression under a royalist-inspired government is the expansion of dissidence and the bravery and willingness of some to take risks to expose injustice. Our work supporting and highlighting dissidents will continue.

The first few months of 2011 will hold the beginning of the trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the web editor of Prachatai newspaper. It is both shocking and instructive that this case is even going to trial. We will be observing her case closely and reporting on it here.

We want to thank our readers for sticking with us through all the attempts by the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime to censor and block PPT. In recent days that seems to have ended, and readership has expanded and we can see people searching through our previous posts. We trust that we remain useful and relevant and we appreciate the many emails of support and advice we receive.

The current government must release all political prisoners. The lese majeste and computer crimes laws must be repealed.

When we started Political Prisoners in Thailand in January 2009, we
anticipated that it would be a temporary endeavor. Instead, two years
later, we have grown exponentially in terms of writing and readership.
Unfortunately, we do not anticipate being able to end our work anytime
soon. 

Initially, we saw a gap in the work that existing news and human
rights organizations were doing in terms of keeping track of the
various political detention cases, which at the time were all related
to charges under Article 112 (the lese majeste law) and the 2007
Computer Crimes Act. In the years since then, the cases under these
two instruments have grown exponentially, harsh sentences have been
handed down for the utterance of a few words, and new categories of
political prisoners have emerged.

The crisis in Thailand which began with the 19 September 2006 coup is
now four-and-a-half years old. As repression has increased, so has
dissidence and the willingness by some to take risks to expose
injustice. Our work supporting and highlighting those people will
continue.  The first few months of 2011 will hold the beginning of the
trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the web editor of Prachatai
newspaper. We will be observing her case closely.When we started Political Prisoners in Thailand in January 2009, we

anticipated that it would be a temporary endeavor. Instead, two years

later, we have grown exponentially in terms of writing and readership.

Unfortunately, we do not anticipate being able to end our work anytime

soon.

Initially, we saw a gap in the work that existing news and human

rights organizations were doing in terms of keeping track of the

various political detention cases, which at the time were all related

to charges under Article 112 (the lese majeste law) and the 2007

Computer Crimes Act. In the years since then, the cases under these

two instruments have grown exponentially, harsh sentences have been

handed down for the utterance of a few words, and new categories of

political prisoners have emerged.

The crisis in Thailand which began with the 19 September 2006 coup is

now four-and-a-half years old. As repression has increased, so has

dissidence and the willingness by some to take risks to expose

injustice. Our work supporting and highlighting those people will

continue. The first few months of 2011 will hold the beginning of the trial of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the web editor of Prachatai newspaper. We will be observing her case closely.


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20 01 2011
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