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Personal letter from John Maynard

January 19, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Personal Note of John Maynard (President of Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa)

I have known Somyot for 30 years. When I first came to Thailand he was the first Thai person who I could speak to because I could not speak Thai but he could speak English. Somyot took very good care of me – he took me around Bangkok and he was my guide. Because I was a factory worker, Somyot introduced me to many Thai factory workers. He encouraged me to help Thai workers to learn a little English. I have met Somyot again on a number of occasions on my visits to Thailand where I now have many friends.

I sat in the Court in Nakornsawan today and I heard Somyot described how he is moved from prison to prison in the provinces when his home and court cases are in Bangkok. It is clear to me that Somyot’s transfers over long distances to court hearings in different provinces is the cause of much suffering to Somyot. Somyot is also not able to more easily feel the support of friends and family.

It is not for me to be involved in the important legal processes in another country but I do feel a duty to Somyot as a longstanding and good and loyal friend to support him in this difficult time for him. I was shocked to see he must wear leg chains.

Over many years Somyot ensured that I was able to order food in a different language to my own, to ensure I had good accommodation and that I got to meet and maintain strong friendships in Thailand. I want to support Somyot at this time because of his importance in my life experience. His friendship has made my life so much richer I would not be in this courtroom in Thailand today if Somyot had not introduced himself to me 30 years ago.

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