RELEASE SOMYOT! IMMEDIATELY END THE STATE OF EMERGENCY AND MEDIA CENSORSHIP IN THAILAND!

Dear Mr. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,
 
We are a group of trade unions, labour organizations, human rights groups and concerned individuals.
 

We are writing to express our concern for Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, who was founder of the Center for Labour and International Solidarity Thailand (CLIST), an organization which in the past was a member of ATNC Monitoring Network and always a defender of Thai working people.

 

Somyot has been held in military barracks without getting charged since May 24th. We together with Clean Clothes Campaign which has also issued an appeal on his behalf, are seriously concerned about his health and safety.

 
We demand his immediate release and medical care provided by the Thai government, no later than June 13, as the Criminal Court in Bangkok has confirmed that there is no longer valid reason to detain him.
 

We strongly condemn his detainment without charges and without transparent legal process which has lasted over three weeks, and will monitor to ensure that no other pretexts are given by police to further detain him.

 

Furthermore, we strongly condemn the continuing state of emergency in Thailand and join Somyot and many other Thai groups in calling for an immediate end to the state of emergency and to media censorship and repression in all parts of Thailand.

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Background
Somyot was arrested together with Associate Professor Suthachai Yimprasert, after they presented themselves to the police when they heard of their arrest warrants.

Although they had been following events closely in their capacity as journalists and academics, neither of them are members of the Red Shirt core group.

According to the latest information we received Somyot was being held at Adisorn Army Base in Saraburi, 115km North of the capital Bangkok, and will be detained until at least 6 June. We understand that the Criminal Court and the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) permitted his continuous detention until now, in violation of international human rights standards and national judicial law, with no charges were pressed against them, and no proper inquiry session during his detention.

 
The State of Emergency and media censorship

Although the battle in the center of Bangkok has ended, the government has continued to extend the state of emergency and block important independent and critical media including Prachatai. The charge against and detention of Somyot is a clear abuse of this extended state of emergency by the current Thai government.

 

As reported in The Nation, the Thai trade representive Kiat Sittheeamorn going to the World Economic Forum has said publicly that the state of emergency is still needed for a while, but that it would not hurt business or people’s way of life.Furthermore the government is instructing the tourism industry to ‘hard sell’ tourism in Thailand. This is a deep shame and outrage on all Thai people, to continue the pursuit of profits, which intentionally bases itself on repression of freedom of expression and ordinary people from their just demands for equality, a democratic government and freedom of expression.

 
Justice for the Crackdown

On May 25, 2010, we had sent a letter to the Thai authorities via the Thai Consulates in Hong Kong and Indonesia. We continue to hold those demands in addition to the above, and request the Thai government and Thai consulate to respond to us and to the public!

·        Immediately provide assistance and protection for all Thai people including those injured or bereaved due to the violent clashes

·        Appoint an independent commission to investigate the murder of innocent civilians by Thai military forces
·        Peacefully negotiate with the protesters, towards effecting a government with an elected mandate.

·        Protect the freedom of assembly, freedom of collective action and collective bargaining as universally recognized fundamental parts of a free democracy and fair society.


On behalf of
 

ATNC Monitoring Network

Asian Students Association

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