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Observers report of this week’s trial

Full facebook report here

News update of Prosecutor’s witness hearing:24 Apr 2012

On Aril 24, 2012 at 8.30 am. before the witness hearing, the lawyers of the leader of 24th June democratic group and former editor of Voice of Taksin magazine, Mr. Somyot, Mr. Karom Polpornklang and Mr.Suwit Thingnuan submited the petition to the criminal court to pass onto the constitution court to review whether article 112 of Thai penal code is against 2007 Thai constitution law and consistent with international standard or not. because they believe that article 112 is similar to defamation law in article 326 of Thai penal code but article 112 doesn’t lay out the exemption of wrongdoing rule ( rule that prevent people from being punished despite committing the wrongdoing). This means that the accused is not allowed to prove that they are innocent and it curtails human rights principle written in Thai constitution law.

At 9.30am. Somyot was brought from Bangkok Remand Prison in order to attend the hearing of prosecutor’s witness of his trial. In the morning, two witnesses will be questioned and two more witnesses will be questioned in the afternoon. There are about 20 people attending the trial and most of them are Red Shirts, Somyot’s family members, representative of Thai Labor Campaign, former UDD leadership assistant professor Jaran Ditthaapichai, representative of National Human Rights Commissioners of Thailand and the observers from international organizations such as representative of embassy of Finland, lecturer from Mahidol University, lecturer from University of Leeds (UK), Clean Cloth Campaign Group , the general secretary of Labour Party Pakistan, Faroog Tarig, representative of Socialist Alliance Australia, Marrilayne Treasure and representatives from Human Rights organizations.

Witness 1 is a painting artist who owns the temporary shop around Memorial Bridge area; the witness testifies that in 2010, one student showed him the pictures of Gen.Prem Tinsulanonda and Maj.Gen. Chamlong Srimuang and hired him to draw the mocking cartoon pictures of them – the witness draw the picture of Gen. Prem wearing hat and Chicness emperor’s clothing. After it was done, the same student gave him one of Voice of Taksin magazine edition, which its front page has his drawing on it. He accepted the magazine but didn’t read the content – the only thing he knew was that this magazine published political articles. In the following month, the witness can’t remember what month exactly, the authority came and informed him that he had to go meet the officials at the governmental department located on Chaengwattana Road (the witness later remembered that the authority was from DSI) DSI officer asked whether he knew the owner of the magazine and also asked him to read the articles published in the two editions of that magazine; they were not the same edition given to him by the student. He didn’t understand the content or couldn’t remember what they were about – all he knew was the articles were about history in the old time. The witness told the defendant lawyer that DSI officers also asked how he felt about those articles after reading them – the witness told the officers that he didn’t understand what the articles were trying to point out, all he knew was they were just about history in the old time. The witness also states that he is not interested in politics at all or has any knowledge about history; the witness loves and worships the King greatly and the King is the inspiration for his work.

Witness 2 is former worker of Voice of Taksin magazine and now running tourism business with his mother, Mr. Tanatip Chumkasian – Tanatip states that he had worked for Somyot as photographer, his duty was to take picture of UDD rallies; he quitted after four months because he wanted to complete his bachelor’s degree. The witness states he didn’t know Somyot before working for Voice of Taksin magazine – he got this job because his mother who was the partner of Voice of Taksin magazine told him that the magazine needed photographer, he then applied for a job and got it. The witness answers the question from the defendant lawyer that he had known that Somyot was one of the contributors in that magazine but he usually used his real name and never used penname. When asked whether he read these two articles or not, the witness say yes, DSI officers brought the articles and asked him to read but he didn’t understand how the content in these articles were related to the Monarch; all he knew was Jakrapob Penkae were the writers. When asked how he knew it was Jakrapob Penkae, the witness answered that he learnt this information from his co-worker who also worked for this magazine.

Witness 3 is permanent secretary of Prime Minister Office, visiting Professor Tongthong Chantrangsu testifies on two articles from Voice of Taksin magazine that he believes that in one of these articles, the writer intended to mention the history of the critical period of Thonburi and Rattanakosin – and after comparing his existing knowledge of history to the chronicles of Thonburi written by Dr.Bradleys, the witness believes that the content deem insulting the Monarch. The witness states he is unable to clearly tell who was the person that the writer intended to defame or mention in the second article discussing about “Luang Narueban” ( Luang is the title of civil servants before 1932 revolution– translator). When asked about the nature of article 112 ‘s penalty at the present, the witness states that 3-15 years imprisonment is too severe and disproportionate with the nature of crime.

Witness 4 is President of the Network of Volunteer Citizens to Protect the Monarchy ,Mr. Boworn Yasintorn – he says that after he read two articles published in Voice of Taksin magazine, he believes that the content in these two articles deem insulting the Monarch and some content is also considered as threatening messages to the Monarch. He adds that the writer wanted to compare and link the character called “Luang Narueban” to the present King.

Regardless of final verdict, these trials proceeding and testimonies again openly showed what is the state of Lese Majeste Law, Rule of Law and Judiciary system in Thailand. The world is watching this and also therecord will be noted as the historical record of civil rights battle with ruthless law.Free Somyot CampaignReport from Bulunraya- 24 May 2012Today at 8.30 AM, Somyot’s lawyer will submit a request to Criminal court to pass on to the Constitutional court to review whether the article 112 penalty is too sever and against the justice of Thai citizen

Prof. Jaran Ditapichai ,Advisor to Commission on Foreign Affair and Mr. Faroog Tarig from Labour Party of Pakistan came to visit Somyot and joined the trial as the observers at Bangkok Criminal Court Bangkok
International observers , Ms Jenneke on behalf of Clean Clothes Campaign and representative from the Finland Embassy attended the trial of Somyot. CCC also had launched many international actions worldwide to call for Somyot ‘s release since year 2010 till date.

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