A Thai court’s decision to uphold a 10-year prison sentence given to an editor and social activist for allegedly insulting the royal family continues the relentless erosion of free speech in the country, Amnesty International said.
The Appeals Court upheld the sentence against Somyot Prueksakasemsuk for publishing two articles about a fictional monarch that allegedly defamed the Thai monarchy. He did not write the articles in question.
“This is another regressive decision by the Thai courts – Somyot has been imprisoned for nothing other than peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression. He should never have been prosecuted and must be released immediately,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.
Somyot, who turns 53 tomorrow, has been detained since 30 April 2011, and the authorities have turned down his request for bail and temporary release 15 times. His lawyers and relatives were not notified of this morning’s Appeals Court hearing.