South Korean civil society call for Somyot’s release-AHRC

June 28, 2012

A Joint Press Release to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

THAILAND/SOUTH KOREA: Release of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk

21 June 2012

H.E. Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand
Government House
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300, Thailand

Cc. Mr. Chaiyong SATJIPANON, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Royal Thai Embassy, Korea
653-7, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 140-210
June 21, 2012

Your Excellency,

We are writing this letter to you on behalf of endorsed South Korean and international labour and social movement organizations to express our solidarity with labour activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk.

We demand release of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk who has been detained from the 30 April 2011. Mr. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk has devoted himself for democracy and labour movement in Thailand and for international solidarity as a labour activist, scholar and journalist. Particularly, he has shown strong solidarity to labour movement in Korea. He has translated and popularized a Korean Solidarity song for Thai labour movement. Therefore Korean Labour movement and civil society especially have deep interest and concern on his situation.

He has been imprisoned since he faced charges under the Lese Majeste Law from the article 112 of Criminal Code. Bail of him has been refused and his detention has been extended. We are deeply concerning that the Thai government uses the Lese Majeste Law to oppress Mr. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk who criticized the Thai government through <Red Power> magazine.

In addition, we heard that Yingluck Shinawatra, prime minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, who was supported by the Red Shirt Movement, stood firm on the policy of not amending the Lese Majeste Law because it was not part of the party’s election campaign platform. In this circumstance, Mr. Amphol Tangnoppakul, a 62 years old political prisoner who was victimized by the Lese Majeste Law passed away on 8 May 2002 in prison. He was sentenced 20 years in prison convicted of the Lese Majeste Law for supposedly sending an SMS message to ex-prime minster Abhisit’s personal secretary.

Mr. Amphol Tangnoppakul’s tragedy is not the only case. There are still many political prisoners of the Lese Majeste Law. There are being denied constantly of the right to bail and treatment outside prison. The Lese Majeste Law is a antidemocratic law for suppressing labour movement and social movement in Thailand. We demand the Thai government release political prisoners of the Lese Majeste Law and amend of the law.

We remind you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and calls on States to ensure that they can carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We believe the continuous abuse of the Lese Majeste Law is politically motivated and detrimental to the rebuilding of democracy in Thailand. Such laws have to be reviewed in accordance to international human rights standards.

So, we are call on the Thai authorities to:

Release all the political prisoners of the Lese Majeste Law including Mr. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk unconditionally and grant them amnesty,

Amend the Lese Majeste Law from the article 112 of Criminal Code.

Yours Sincerely,

Endorsed by:

1. Asia Monitor Resource Centre, Hong Kong
2. Citizen of the Earth Taiwan (CET)
3. Globalization Monitor, Hong Kong)
4. Human Rights Education Center ‘Deul’, Korea
5. International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT, U.S.A.)
6. Korea Contingent Workers Center
7. Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), Korea
8. Korean House for International Solidarity, Korea
9. Labour Action China, Hong Kong
10. Local Initiative for OSH Network
11. Network for Glocal Activism, Korea
12. People’s Power, Korea
13. Sedane Labour Resource Center, Indonesia
14. Thai Labour Campaign, Thailand
15. United Progressive Party, Korea
16. Workers’ Assistance Center, Philippines
17. Workers Solidarity All Together, Korea
18. Yokohama Action Research, Japan


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