Eighth bail denial for Somyot
A Thai court has again denied bail to Somyot Pruksekasemsuk, the prominent labour rights and democracy campaigner. This is the eighth successive bail refusal, although Somyot has neither used nor advocated violence and his supporters have paid in a substantial sum as surety. As one supporter bitterly remarked, “We’ll soon be in the Guinness Book of Records”. Somyot has been in jail on remand since April 2011, charged with infringements of Thailand’s widely criticised lèse majesté laws. The accusations have never been proven, and his imprisonment has sparked worldwide protests. Bail has become an urgent issue, as the trial has put 50-year-old Somyot under great physical and psychological pressure. The court has insisted on moving him around from province to province for prosecution witness hearings, even though all the witnesses are in fact based in Bangkok. In all, he has been transported for more than 4,000 kilometres in cages. He is obliged to wear metal chains weighing more than 10kg.