Bangkok, April 29 (IANS) A group of 16 nonprofits, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, on Friday called for the immediate release of a Thai editor who is serving a 10-year prison sentence on charges of lese-majeste.
“We urge the Thai government to end the persecution of Somyot Phrueksakasemsuk and immediately set him free to return to his wife and family. In addition, we call on the Thai government to provide Somyot adequate compensation and effective remedy for the arbitrary deprivation of his liberty,” the nonprofits said in a joint statement.
Somyot, 54, is in Bangkok Remand prison for two satirical articles he published in the now-defunct magazine “Voice of Taksin”, of which he was the editor, and it had allegedly insulted King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
Somyot’s arrest on April 30, 2011, came five days after he launched a campaign to collect signatures to amend the article that typifies the crime of lese-majeste, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The nonprofits claimed the conviction and detention “do not comply with Thailand’s international legal obligations.