Thailand: Sentencing in appeal of Mr. Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk

Urgent Appeal


New information
THA 002/ 0514 / OBS 046.1
Arbitrary arrest /
Sentence in appeal / Judicial harassment
September 22, 2014

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing in appeal of Mr. Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk, the Editor of the magazine “Voice of Thaksin” (Voice of the Oppressed) and a free speech advocate who called for the revision of lèse-majesté laws.

According to the information received, on September 19, 2014, the Court of Appeals upheld the Bangkok Criminal Court’s conviction of Mr. Somyot under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code and sentenced him to 10 years in prison on two counts of violating the lèse-majesté law. Mr. Somyot was convicted for allowing, as editor, the publication of two satirical articles, written by someone else, in his magazine Voice of Thaksin that were deemed as “insulting” to the monarchy. The court failed to inform Mr. Somyot, his lawyer, and his family members that the hearing would take place on September 19.

The Observatory is strongly concerned by the continued arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk for his activities as human rights defender and calls upon the authorities in Thailand to immediately release him and put an end to any kind of harassment against him.

Background information:

Mr. Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk, a labour rights activist, was among the first activists in Thailand trying to unionise workers, providing them with legal training, and organising camp activities and public demonstrations. In his magazine “Voice of Thaksin”, Mr. Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk denounced human rights abuses and gave a voice to the voiceless.

On April 30, 2011, authorities arrested Mr. Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk and subsequently charged him under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code which states that “whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir to the throne or the Regent shall be punished with imprisonment of three to 15 years”.

On January 23, 2013, he was arbitrarily found guilty of lèse-majesté by the Bangkok Criminal Court which found the articles were critical the monarchy [1].

On April 1, 2013, he filed an appeal against his conviction. Despite pending appeal, court officials have denied Mr. Phrueksakasemsuk’s requests for bail 15 times.

Moreover, his family was also victim of arbitrary arrest. Indeed, on May 25, 2014, Thai army soldiers searched Mr. Phrueksakasemsuk’s house and arrested his wife and son. The two were held incommunicado in an unknown location and without access to their lawyers. Soldiers failed to inform them of the reasons for their arrest. They were released without charge the following day on the condition that they did not give interviews, make political comments, nor take part in any political activities.

Despite the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention decision that found Mr. Phrueksakasemsuk detention was arbitrary in August 30, 2012, there was no reaction by the Thai authorities.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Thailand asking them to:

Release immediately and unconditionally Mr. Phrueksakasemsuk;

Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Phrueksakasemsuk as well as all human rights defenders in Thailand;

Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Phrueksakasemsuk as well as against all human rights defenders in Thailand;

Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Thailand.


l Head of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief, Rachadamnoen Nok Road, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, 10200, Bangkok, THAILAND
l Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, Chief of the Armed Forces, Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, 127 Chaeng Watthana Road, Laksi, 10210, Bangkok, THAILAND
l Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, Admiral Narong Pipathanasai, Royal Thai Navy Commander-in-Chief, THAILAND
l Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, Air Chief Marshal Prajin Jantong, Royal Thai Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Phahon Yothin Road., Don Mueang, 10210, Bangkok, THAILAND
l Deputy Leader of the National Council for Peace and Order, Police General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, Royal Thai Police Commissioner-General, Royal Thai Police, 1 Building, Floor 7, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok, THAILAND 10330, Tel: +66 (0)-2251-6831 Fax: +66 (0)-2205-3738
l Secretary-General of the National Council for Peace and Order, General Udomdet Sitabut, Royal Thai Army Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Rachadamnoen Nok Road, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, 10200, Bangkok, THAILAND
l Spokesman of the National Council for Peace and Order, Colonel Winthai Suvaree, Royal Thai Army Spokesman, Rachadamnoen Nok Road, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, 10200, Bangkok, THAILAND
l National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, 422 Phya Thai Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10300, THAILAND, Fax: +622 219 2940
l Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Lukmuang Building, Nahuppei Road, Prabraromrachawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, THAILAND, Fax: +662 224 0162 / 1448 / 221 0858,;
l Commissioner General, Royal Thai Police, 1st Building, 7th Floor, Rama I, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, THAILAND, Fax: +662 251 5956 / 205 3738 / 255 1975-8;
l Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, rue Gustave Moynier 5, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: + 41 22 715 10 10; Fax: + 41 22 715 10 00 / 10 02; Email:
l Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, 2 Sq. du Val de la Cambre, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 640.68.10; Fax: + 32 2 .648.30.66. Email :

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Thailand in your respective country


Paris-Geneva, September 22, 2014

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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