Release Somyot and other political prisoners in Thailand

Prime Minister Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva
c/o Government House
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300
Thailand
Fax: + 662 282 8631/280 1589/629 8213
Tel. + 662 280 1404/3000
Email: abhisit@abhisit.org, public@democrat.or.th ,
publicchearing@opm.go.th,
soc@soc.go.th

Your Excellency Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,

We in the international Community are shocked to hear news of the re-arrest of Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and are very concerned for his safety in the prison.

I write to ask you for the immediate release of Somyot Pruksakasemsuk who was arrested on 30th April 2011 and is currently being held at Klong Prem Central Prison, in Bangkok.

We know Somyot Pruksakasemsuk through his work for the international trade union movement and we have been active in the campaign in 2010 to release him from Adisorn Army base in Saraburi. We have come to know him as a loyal Thai citizen who is strongly committed to Human Rights in his role as an independent journalist and academic promoting freedom of speech.

We understand that Somyot was arrested on a charge of defaming, insulting and threatening the King, Queen and heir apparent (Section112 of the Penal Code) a charge which he fully denies. He also was not aware that any arrest warrant had previously been issued and strongly denies any claim that he resisted arrest.

We were informed by Somyot Pruksakasemsuk from a letter written by him in prison on 2 May 2011. He believes that his arrest was due to the effort by him and other pro democracy activists to collect the 10,000 signatures needed to table for a repeal of section 112 of the Criminal Code/Lese Majeste Law in parliament. This action was done in a peaceful manner and according to the procedure prescribed by the 2007 Constitution.

We are concerned about the current state of human rights and democracy in Thailand, where even peaceful and legal methods to express one’s views are suppressed and denied.

We believe that the country should move towards a genuine reconciliation in good faith and intention from all sides. Therefore any dissident voice should not be brutally suppressed, particularly prior to a national election. The arrest of Somyot for his peaceful activity will deter this process.

We further understand that the Criminal Court agreed with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to extend the detention of Somyot, it is something we believe to be an unacceptable abuse of Somyot’s human rights. Please urgently respond to this request for the immediate release of Somyot to allow him to organise his response to the charges against him.

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