Could Somyot be free in 2018?
The Supreme Court has reduced to six years the 10-year jail term handed down on Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, former editor of a red-shirt magazine, for lese majeste by the lower courts. Somyot, 56, was brought from Bangkok Remand Prison to hear the ruling read out at the Criminal Court on Thursday morning. The Criminal Court initially sentenced Somyot to 10 years in jail, five years each for two counts of lese majeste charges, for publishing articles of a writer by the pseudonym of Jit Polachan in the February and March 2010 editions of Voice of Taksin. The content was deemed lese majeste under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
His sentence drew protest from the European Union and from human rights groups, including Amnesty International, which designated him a prisoner of conscience. The sentence was upheld by the Appeals Court. Somyot brought the case to the Supreme Court, which reduced the jail term on Thursday. Since Somyot was also sentenced to one year in jail in another case for defaming Gen Saprang Kallanyanamit, a former army commander, his combined jail term is seven years.
Somyot, a former labour activist, has been in jail for nearly six years since his arrest. He has never been granted bail.