Novelist and social and cultural critic Wad Rawee has an article reproduced at Prachatai on the case of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, sentenced under the lese majeste law, and held in prison since 30 April 2011.
As far as we are aware, only one other political prisoner has been held longer, and that is Darunee Charnchoensilpakul, jailed since 22 July 2008 for a mammoth 15 years in prison for her political speeches.
Wad observes that Somyos was not a speaker or a writer of any of the “offending” words that the authorities considered constituted lese majeste. Rather, Somyos was an editor of a popular oppositional magazine. He was also a labor activist and organizer.
PPT interprets this background as one that made Somyos threatening to and dangerous for the royalist elite.
Wad explains the legal nonsense at the heart of this lese majeste conviction:
Throughout the hearings and investigation, no other evidence was presented other than that which proved that Somyot was the editor of the aforementioned magazine. In the demonstration of Somyot’s guilt, no other evidence was presented other than the opinions of witnesses after reading the two articles in question.
This case must go down in history as one in which the court ruled an editor to be guilty of a crime on the basis of the belief that this editor read the articles in question and then could only reach the same conclusion about them as one particular group of witnesses. This ruling was made without any evidence at all and without any law that specifies that an editor must take responsibility for any crimes that arise in the materials that he publishes.
Somyos, Darunee and many more are Thailand’s political prisoners. They are jailed for daring to go outside the narrow rules that protect the royalist elite, it wealth and its power.