Article 112 lèse majesté in Thailand
Thailand’s lèse majesté law, Article 112 of the Criminal Code, forbids any discussion about the royal family and can be punished with up to 15 years in prison. Article 112 has been used by the Thai government to arrest opposition leaders in the run up to the 3rd July elections this year. The law is considered draconian, used to clamp down on any critical perspective about Thai institutions. The Thai National Human Rights Committee and international human rights and press censorship groups have spoken out against the use of Article 112 to detail hundreds of opposition activists. The NHRC is currently carrying out an investigation into the content of use of this law through its sub-committee on civil and political rights which held its first meeting in June 2011.
Somyot was arrested in part because of his campaign to collect signatures for a petition to repeal Article 112.
There are many groups including trade unionists, journalists, academics that are now campaigning for legal change in Thailand.
For a good summary of recent campaigns and activity to repeal Article 112 go here, or search the Asian Correspondent site.
A general site about political prisoners is https://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/tag/
For an academic perspective on Lese Majeste you can search for interviews and articles by Dr David Streckfuss, author of “Truth on Trial in Thailand: Defamation, Treason and Lese-Majeste”, published by Routledge 2011.