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Struggle for imprisoned Thai labour activist continues

13 September, 2013Sukanya Prueksakasemsuk, wife of the convicted labour and human rights activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, visited Geneva to meet with diplomatic missions and United Nations representatives.

Sukanya’s weeklong visit from 9 to 13 September has been organized by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) to profile Somyot case as one of the many alarmingly increasing in the country and discuss possibilities of the international pressure in Somyot case She also participated 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.

The case of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, represents an attack on human rights and freedom of speech. On 30 April 2011 Somyot was put in jail for alleged offences against monarchy. Thai criminal court found Somyot Prueksakasemsuk guilty of ‘lese majeste’ offences after publication of two articles supposedly critical of the monarchy in the magazine edited by Somyot and charged him with ten years of prison, five years for each publication.

Many observers notice inadequacy of the offence and the punishment and believe the sentence shows the real reason was an earlier expressed by Somyot support for a legal revision of the 'lese-majeste' law.

Despite the efforts both by his family and the ongoing international campaigns calling for Somyot’ release, Somyot’s 15th bail application has been denied in July 2013.

Sukanya is not going to give up, commenting on the campaign in support of her husband she says, “We have to continue because there are other new cases when people are charged through this law, it doesn’t stop”.

According to Sukanya currently there are some 400 cases in Thailand based on ‘lese majeste’ offence law, many of them are now in jail.