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Press release

September 6, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Free Thai activist Somyot ! His wife and best defendant in Geneva on September 9-13, 2013

Clean Clothes Campaign(CCC), together with the Free Somyot Campaign and the Thai Labour Campaign urges the Thai authorities to hear Somyot Prueksakasemsuk’s wife’s call to free her husband, labour and human rights defender and magazine editor.

She will be in Geneva, invited by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), for one week to meet with diplomatic missions and UN staff. She will also participate in a panel discussion on freedom of expression in Southeast Asia, organized by FIDH in parallel to the 24th session of the Human Rights Council.

She is available for interviews.

Press contact : Vanessa Gautier, Clean Clothes Campaign France + 33 1 48 58 21 85 v.gautier@peuples-solidaires.org

Somyot is a prisoner of conscience. He was convicted solely for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to participate in public life. He has been in detention since April 30, 2011 for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch. On January 23 2012, the Bangkok Criminal Court found him guilty on 2 counts of Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law*) and sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment.

The verdict seriously undermines the right to freedom of expression and press freedom. It is a violation of international human rights law, in particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand has ratified.In August 2012, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared Somyot’s detention to be in violation of international human rights law. The EU and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have also issued strong statements against the verdict.

Despite the efforts both by his family and the ongoing international campaigns which call for Somyot’ release, Somyot’s 15th bail application has been denied.

If Thailand is to be in compliance with its binding international legal obligations to respect and protect basic rights, this unjust verdict against Somyot should be promptly overturned on appeal. Additionally, while the appeal is being considered, his constitutional right to provisional release should be upheld so that he could reunite with his family, better attend to his medical conditions, and adequately prepare for his defense.

One political prisoner is one too many.

CCC calls on Thailand to free Somyot and all other persons detained on politically-motivated charges and end all forms of harassment against them to ensure that no one would be criminalised for peacefully exercising their fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression

*Thailand’s lèse-majesté law prohibits any word or act, which “defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent”. This law places the country in contravention of its international legal obligations to uphold international standards of freedom of expression.

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