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20 minutes behind the iron bars

The campaign has been quietly going on with Somyot, Joop and their legal team preparing for the next stage of his legal case including the next round of applying for bail.

Here is Joop’s report of 20 minutes with Somyot

20 minutes between the iron bars
Prison visit to Somyot on 27 June 2013

It was Thursday morning at 08.30 AM when Somyot and I have regular visit every week. Iron bars and secure windows divided us apart but couldn’t separate our souls. I was given the room no. 1 which was the last meeting room in the row in Bangkok Remand Prison. Without hesitation, Somyot walked fast and looked straight at me and smiled, his smile made the world so bright and full of hope and peace. I was so relieved to meet him in that morning.

As there was no telephone phone in that room so I have to shout otherwise he could not hear me which made me unhappy. Luckily it was quiet that day and only a lady and her husband sharing the room with us. A clock seemed to stop and allow us to take time together, at that moment, we shared the feeling of love and care to each other without saying a word and I forgot we just had 20 minutes until the alarm bell rang. He repeatedly asked me the same questions every week i.e. Do you live alone? Are our kids with you? How are they doing? I wasn’t bored to hear the same questions, I knew how he felt but probably he did not realize how many time he asked me. Sometime I felt these questions were illogical but I turned to understand him this day. He was probably worried about our safety but he was afraid to say out loud.

I don’t know exactly what a man wants but I guess everyone wants the same thing which is tender love! It is not just food, medicine, air and water but also food for thought and something for his soul. He needs someone to care about him, talk to him, give him moral support and ensure that he is great and secure him that he is being loved. My colleague said that she treated her male direct reports with more gentle and care and it worked well. So a strong man like Somyot still needs a warm hug and nurturing.

After 26 months of his imprisonment, actually it’s been a crisis for our life but I have learned a lot. It’s a pity that we had plenty of time before his detention but we hardly talked and shared our feeling. Now we have only 20 minutes a week however we understand each other better. Before that, I was very reluctant to talk about myself, my career and my wellbeing and so do him. At this time we have to utilize every single minute as valuable as we can so I expressed myself more by talking or writing to him.

Life is so short and I can’t afford to lose any opportunity to show how much I care about him, I don’t want to be in the same situation like Pa-Ueh (Rosmarin) who did not even say good bye to her husband, Ah-Kong (Amphon) before his last breath.


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