Letter from Somyot
A Victim of Injustice
Tue, 03/05/2011 – 01:39 | Letter from Somyot Preuksakasemsuk
Here I sit in a cell behind the tight iron bars, or a “jail”. All my freedom lost, I am held in custody just by myself and am barred from communicating with the world. It causes me unprecedented and deepest grievance, physically and mentally.
If I were a criminal or a murderer who had caused someone to die, or had stolen from others, or had committed a grave immoral act, then I would have deserved such a punishment, as I had committed an offence or had caused trouble to others.
But I have simply been performing my role as a media person expressing my views independently, spreading the truth, and criticizing society and politics, as much as my basic freedom allows. I have utilized my profession as a journalist independently hoping to help advance our society and promote equality and to help my people attain wellbeing.
I just perform my role as a medium to help people to express their views that are useful for society without fear, or without having to hide their thoughts.
As a result of carrying out my duty and the pursuance of my career with a free spirit and human dignity, I am accused and incarcerated and have to endure suffering.
There are many other people who have become victims of the use of brute force, narrow-mindedness, and selfishness simply to protect someone’s power and privilege.
The suffering and pain inflicted on me this time do not stem from just being deprived of my freedom. But the pains and frustration derive from realizing how the law has been abused and applied unfairly against me and how the truth has been twisted in the most disgusting manner, including the denial of my request for temporary release simply because of the concern that I might flee abroad.
Prior to my arrest, it was not at all known to me that an arrest warrant had been issued on a charge of defaming, insulting and threatening the King, the Queen, the Heir Apparent or the Regent as per Section 112 of the Penal Code. Thus, I had been conducting my life normally, living from hand to mouth, working from dawn to dusk and participating in social and political activities.
I am a professional journalist and run a tour business. On April 30, 2011, I was supposed to lead a group of 30 Thai tourists to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia. A trip has been organized every month. On that day, I just walked to the checkpoint to get my documents inspected as usual without the slightest intention to run away.
Previously, several charges have been pressed against me arising from my political involvement, and I have never tried to escape. I have fought all the cases upfront as I believe in my innocence. And I do believe that there is still some remaining justice.
Running away has never been a choice that I have contemplated, though I know I will end up in jail. I want to continue my fight against the corrupt power, the distortion of truth and the dictatorial power of the ruling class.
I might be subject to incarceration and punishment, but I am able to perform my duties freely for the benefit of society. I am ready to fight head on against corrupt power, though it might eventually land me in jail.
The problem does not stem from the desire of the people to have equality and justice. They simply seek fairness and democracy and the freedom to express their views and criticisms toward the rulers who claim the highest moral ground in society. But the problem is there with the dictatorial law, Section 112 which is an unjust law which has been abused to purge dissenting voices and curb people’s rights and liberties.
Many people have become victims of Section 112. They have been deprived of their freedom, arrested, jailed, accused, purged, or even killed brutally.
Thus, I have decided to take the lead to demand the revocation of Section 112 and formed the “Democratic Network to Compile 10,000 Signatures to Propose to Parliament the Repeal of Section 112”, according to a procedure prescribed by the 2007 Constitution.
The content of Section 112 is vague and contains gaps that have been exploited by corrupt people to suppress others. In a society on the verge of conflict, my arrest this time is tantamount to placing the monarchy in direct confrontation with the people.
Previously, several core leaders of the Red Shirts were accused of committing lèse majesté, and community radio stations have been shut down and websites blocked to prevent people from getting information. It has culminated in getting me arrested and this unjust legal action that ensues.
Thus, I am just a victim of abuse of the law, a victim in a political game in the fierce battle between the democratic movement and the dictatorship which may come through elections.
I am a target that the corrupt powers that be who proclaim superior morality and charisma want to tame in order to prolong their corrupt power.
I will not be the last victim as long as we are still trapped under a rule which is essentially a dictatorship, but is portrayed as a democracy to the world.
I shall fight for freedom until my last breath.
I’m willing to give up my freedom, but certainly not my humanity.
Holding cell, Crime Suppression Division, Bangkok
8.30 am, May 2, 2011
Note: Mr. Somyos Preuksakasemsuk, a core leader of the Red Shirts in Thailand was arrested on a charge of lèse majesté on April 30, 2011. The magazine he edited was accused of carrying an article considered insulting to the Thai monarch. This note was written prior to his being brought for arraignment later that morning at the Criminal Court which denied him bail, claiming the offence carried a high penalty.
Translated by Pipob Udomittipong