Red editor Somyot sticks to not guilty plea-Prachatai

April 13, 2012

[CJ Hinke of FACT comments: Govts everywhere do everything they can to squirm out of any accused going to trial. They claim it has to do with simple economics but, really, they don’t want an open trial where uncomfortable facts like govt duplicity may be revealed. Trials, at best Kafkaesque, are used to give the appearance of fairness not its substance. Often the roots lie in politically-motivated laws.

I deeply honour Somyot’s fortitude but I don’t think Thai govt can afford to see him acquitted. There is no shame in a Royal pardon, even when one is not guilty. In fact, I think requests for such pardons call govt’s bluff. I’d rather have this fine, tireless social activist by my side than with prison bars between us.]

Somyot vows to fight on

Prachatai: April 6, 2012


On 5 April, at Bangkok Remand Prison Somyot Prueksakasemsuk said that he would not plead guilty in his lèse majesté case in order to seek a royal pardon like other lèse majesté defendants and convicts, because he was innocent and if he confessed, he would feel uncomfortable.

‘I have been persuaded to fight in court, so I want to try to fight.  Those who have pleaded guilty have done so because they have no trust or hope in the judicial process.  The right to bail is just non-existent.  The injured parties have never had to appear in court even once.  I fight because I want to prove to myself whether there is any justice left in lèse majesté cases,’ he said, adding that his fight, at least, would be a historical record.

For him, to win or lose the case makes no difference, because, if freed from prison, he would still face ‘a bigger cage’.  So far, he has performed his duties as a good citizen of the country by participating in politics and exercising the right to freedom of expression, he said.

‘The problem is innocent people have to plead guilty to find a way out. What does this mean? This is deeply painful.  So I’ve thought I’d better fight.  At least, let them be the judge,’ he said.

Somyot was arrested on 30 April 2011 at the immigration checkpoint at Sa Kaew, while he was leading a red-shirt tour group to enter Cambodia.  He was charged with lèse majesté for two articles published in the Voice of Taksin magazine for which he was the editor.

He has been detained without bail ever since.  From Nov last year to Feb this year, he was taken to four provinces, including Sa Kaew, Phetchabun, Nakhon Sawan and Songkhla for court hearings of prosecution witnesses.

The next hearing dates are scheduled for 18-20, 24-26 April and 1-4 May at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd, Bangkok.



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