An update on lese majeste and political prisoners

13 08 2011

PPT received an email from  the Malaysia Support Group for Democracy in Thailand. We include it below, with a little editing:

Dear all

Warm greetings from Malaysia Support Group for Democracy in Thailand.

The last 3 July 2011 marked another turning point of the political landscape in Thailand. Landslide support from the massive red shirts in the election had brought Prue Thai Party to replace the military back[ed] … Democrat Party.

8 August 2011: the first female as Prime Minister of Thailand, MsYingluck is appointed to lead the new government. Nevertheless there are still unresolved internal political movement [and] contentious issues. The demands of working and rural poor of their long waited grievances to be fulfilled. The demands of the release of the political prisoners, including those charged under emergenc[y] ordinance and Lese Majeste Law, to review or abolish the Lese Majeste law , to reveal the investigation finding[s regarding] … those who were killed and injured in the last April-May 2010 during mass rally … in Bangkok, Thailand.

Here are some of the updates of the recent efforts to free political prisoners [under the] … lese majeste law and also the reform of the LML, including the position from the states and other UN agencies:

A On … the journalist and labour and pro-democracy activist , Somyot Pruksakasemsuk

On Monday 25 July 2011, following the full 84-day incarceration permitted under the law, [he] was brought to the criminal court to hear the prosecutor’s charge against him. The charges related to an article published in the ‘Voice of Taksin’ in February and March 2010 editions. Somyot was editor of that magazine which was shut down last year. The court has set Monday 12th September 2011 for a pre-trial hearings, 13.00, at Bangkok Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road. However, bail application again was denied….

Again, we see this gross violation of human rights to Somyot. Again we witness that the lese majeste law had used against to pro-democracy activist and suppress the freedom of speech/expression.

He should have the Right to Bail and for Hearings to be Open to Public. The close door-black box style of hearing is not fair and just for the accused as their case shall be heard openly to society and public.

… The judiciary system again has again proven that they are operating again under the darkness of political influence….

– Reporters Without Borders and Committee to Protect Journalists had issued … statements … calling for Somyot’s release. The Lese Majeste Law shall be repealed as its violate the freedom of expression.

Read here:  http://freesomyot.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/cpj-articl/

http://www.cpj.org/2011/07/editor-faces-anti-royal-charges-in-thailand.php

http://en.rsf.org/thailand-detained-newspaper-editor-facing-11-08-2011,40768.html

B What are the position of the New Prime Minister and government on the issue of Lese Majeste?

In the latest interview with the new Prime Minister, it seems that they recognize the misused of the Lese Majeste law and the need of review this matter.  Read here: Bangkok Pundit Jul 07, 2011, Yingluck on Thailand’s lese majeste law

http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3372&Itemid=392

https://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/wikileaks-thaksin-queen-and-lese-majeste/

C … There are also concern had been raised l in the press release of the UN Human Rights Committee on the 28 July 2011

Here is stated:

PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY – THURSDAY 28 JULY

Palais des Nations, Press Room 1 – 1330 pm

GENEVA – Blasphemy laws, “memory” laws, laws on such matters as treason, counter-terrorism, lese majeste, desacato, defamation of the head of state, the protection of honour of public officials…the UN Human Rights Committee will today share with the media its new General Comment on the rights to freedom of opinion and expression which sets out just how far such restrictions on these fundamental human rights can go

Among other issues, the Human Rights Committee states in its General Comment that freedom of expression protections extend to new media and information platforms. It also offers the most comprehensive analysis .yet in international human rights law of a right of access to information held by public bodies.

-Download the Committee’s General Comments on freedom of expression:  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/GC34.pdf or http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/comments.htm

– In addition, the Bangkok Post, Achara Ashayagachat reports that the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand has urged that prosecutions against red shirts arrested following 2010′s “deadly dispersal of the protesters” should be suspended

Commissioner Somchai Homla-or of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission in Thailand stressed stated it.

Somchai added the important point that “imposing serious charges such as lese majeste against many red shirts was politically motivated.” He also notes that there was remarkable bias in court actions: “only the protesters were on trial, but not the government. The Bangkok Post, Achara Ashayagachat reports that the Truth for Reconciliation Commission has urged that prosecutions against red shirts arrested following 2010′s “deadly dispersal of the protesters” should be suspended.ent officials…”, emphasizing “the sense of injustice…”

Commissioner Somchai Homla-or said “justice was the best remedy for the victims and the remedy was a pre-requisite for the needed reconciliation.” It was noted that “[s]trong accusations by the last [Abhisit Vejjajiva] administration led to excessive charges which had resulted in the courts denying bail requests by many red shirt suspects.”

Somchai added the important point that “imposing serious charges such as lese majeste against many red shirts was politically motivated.” He also notes that there was remarkable bias in court actions: “only the protesters were on trial, but not the government officials…”, emphasizing “the sense of injustice…”

Read here: https://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/red-shirt-cases-reflect-politics-and-injustice/

D What are … social movement and red shirts pro-democracy activists … doing now in order to continue the reform of the notorious Lese Majeste Law and to free the political prisoner of the Lese Majeste law

-7 August 2011, protest gathering and rally was organized by the Democracy Network at Democracy Monu ment at 10 am and marched to the Supreme Court. They key demands included to revive the People Constitution of 1997 before the coup’s back up regime amended the constitution. Call for constitution reform to ensure democracy and human rights are protected.

-The demand the Supreme Court to respect and demanding the right to bail for political prisoners

– Calling for the release of political prisoners the right to get the bail. Including calling for release of Somyot

-Bangkok Post : Thai record on human rights to get UN review – read: http://www.bangkokpost.com/lite/topstories/250946/thai-record-on-human-rights-to-get-un-review

-David Streckfuss, an article 112 critic, has suggested that the UPR discuss recommendations made by the Enlightened Jurists Group from Thammasat University to consider problems in the use of the lese majeste law…. A Khon Kaen-based expert on lese majeste law, David Streckfuss, said he was willing to wait and see whether the new Pheu Thai-led government was committed to reforming the law. He said the government could learn from the committee set up by the Abhisit administration to review the law.

Also, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/Rights-advocates-set-to-press-new-govt-30162296.html#.TkIPHmtd7lo.facebook

-There were many others seminar and open pledge from writers as well called for the release of political prisoners and also the need of amendment of lese majeste law. Read here:

http://prachatai.com/english/node/2669

359 Thai Writers Manifesto: The right to freedom of speech and political opinions shall not be abrogated and misconstrued as a violation of lèse majesté

– Lese Majaste Law received attention from international media. Thailand’s ‘lese majeste’ laws under scrutiny  By TODD PITMAN

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9OPBUUG0.htm

Thanks for your kind attention and support! Your solidarity/support are still needed, as they are long waiting justice to be seen for the political prisoners, those who are being charged, arrested, imprisoned under Lese Majeste Law.

There are few Facebook page for some political prisoner of Lese Majeste Law that you may wish to join:

Free Somyot FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Somyot/122999694453000?sk=info

Free DA Torpedo: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-DA-Torpedo/190777100975576

If anyone has any queries,  email  freesomyot@gmail.com


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