The Supreme Court on Monday denied bail to Ekachai Hongkangwan, a 35-year-old man convicted of lèse majesté for selling copies Wikileaks cables and an ABC news documentary on Thailand’s monarchy, citing flight risk.
(6 June 2013) Sukanya Prueksakasemsuk, the wife of magazine editor Somyot who is serving an 11 year jail sentence, submitted an open letter from her husband to Jacob Mathew, President of the World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) during the 65th World Newspaper Congress in Bangkok.
At present, Thailand’s right to freedom of expression is subjected to numerous regulations. It should be noted that all of the applicable laws to regulate freedom of expression in Thailand have been drafted and enacted by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) installed after the 19 September 2006 military coup.
Bangkok, May 23 -- Ongoing suppression of freedom of expression, little accountability for the 2010 political violence and the internal armed conflict in the Deep South are the main human rights concerns for Thailand in the 2013 Amnesty International Annual Report.
A written statement submitted to the UN Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organisation with general consultative status
On 8 May 2013, the lawyer of human rights defender and magazine editor Mr Somyot Prueksakasemsuk submitted an application to the Supreme Court in Bangkok to refute the ruling by the Appeal Court rejecting his previous application. On 3 April 2013, the Appeal Court had rejected the lawyer's application for Somyot Prueksakasemsuk to exercise his right to bail. Somyot Prueksakasemsuk was sentenced to 10 years in jail by the Court of First Instance on 23 January 2013 on charges of publishing two articles with negative references to the Thai monarchy under the lèse majesté law.
On 24 April, the Criminal Court held another hearing in the inquest into the death of Amphon Tangnoppakul, a lèse majesté convict who died in prison in May last year.
On 28 March 2013, Ekachai Hongkangwan was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for allegedly violating Article 112 by selling CDs which contained an ABC Australia documentary and copies of WikiLeaks documents. He requested bail while he appealed the case, but this request was denied and he is currently behind bars at the Bangkok Remand Prison.
On 12 October 2012, the Constitutional Court released a comment in response to petitions submitted by Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and Ekachai Hongkangwan about the constitutionality of Article 112 of the Criminal Code, which mandates that "whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years. The comment addressed whether or not Article 112 was in contravention to Article 3 (2), Article 29, and Article 45 (1, 2) of the Constitution (The full comment can be read here). In response to concerns about each of these provisions, the Constitutional Court ruled that Article 112 did not stand in contravention and was therefore constitutional. Given an earlier commentary issued in response to a petition by Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, in which the Court noted that a closed trial is compatible with the exercise of the defendant’s rights and liberties, the sum total of the comment was not entirely surprising.
March 28, 2012 - The court today sentenced 38-year-old Ekkachai Hongkangwan five years in prison term and fine of 100,000 baht for selling documentary CDs produced by Australian Broadcasting Corporation and copies of wikileaks documents deemed defaming to the Queen and the Prince. Later it reduced sentence to three years and four month imprisonment with 66,666 baht fine, stating that defendant’s testimony benefitted the court.