Somyot trial: Elited Red lèse majesté fugitive penned articles-The Nation
May 5, 2012
[CJ Hinke of FACT comments: Now, this is rich! An elite L-M fugitive wrote the articles with which the magazine’s editor, Somyot, was charged. If the application of the L-M laws is not altered, fatcats like Jakrapob won’t get back to Thailand in this life. At heart of this trial, is, firstly, whether the articles actually legally constitute insult and, secondly, whether Somyot bears criminal liability as editor for words written by a third party.]
Jakrapob wrote the articles, lese majeste trial told
The Nation: May 2, 2012
Jakrapob Penkair, a fugitive former PM’s Office minister, was the author of the two articles in Voice of Taksin two years ago that allegedly defamed His Majesty the King, the magazine’s editor Somyos Prueksakasem-suk testified yesterday.
Somyos is facing trial for lese majeste for the two articles written under the pen name “Jit Polachan”, which he now claims was used by Jakrapob, a close aide of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Somyos later confirmed to The Nation that Jakrapob was also the real person in charge
of the now banned Voice of Taksin magazine as well as the Red Power magazine, which is still being published.
Somyos denied that the two articles that got him arrested should be interpreted as an attack on His Majesty. He said it was more of a criticism of the aristocratic-bureaucratic elite or “amataya”, and that the people criticised in the articles were referred to as fictitious plural characters.
‘Writing for some time’
He also said he didn’t spend much time reviewing the two articles since they were written by Jakrapob, who had been doing his column for some time.
“I trusted him to continue writing,” Somyos told the judges.
The two articles published in February 2010 merely warned of an impending violent crackdown on the red shirts, he said.
In his defence, Somyos said the lese majeste law is too draconian with its heavy penalty. It violates the rights of citizens to express themselves and was used by some to crush its opponents, he said.
The yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy has invoked the monarchy in advancing its own political agenda, he said.
Later Somyos talked briefly with a representative from the Reporters Without Borders organisation who came to observe the trial.
“My duty is to say everything truthfully. If I’m punished, that’s okay,” Somyos said.
The representative later told The Nation that in France, “It’s not a crime to write an article.” An observer from the EU delegation to Thailand was also present at Somyos’ trial yesterday.