Somyos: without freedom, humans are not human

On 1 May, Somyos Prueksakasemsuk was remanded at the Crime Suppression Division.  He was visited by red shirts and former Triumph workers.

He said that his arrest was probably a result of his role in having recently launched a campaign to collect 10,000 signatures to repeal Article 112 of the Criminal Code, as he heard investigators saying that if he had not done that, he would not have been arrested.

Somyos, leader of the 24th June Democracy group, and other groups of red shirts under the banner of the Democracy Network had held a press conference to launch the campaign on 25 April.

The lèse majesté law has been the cause of endless threats to the freedom of thought and expression of the people, he said.

‘The people should have the freedom to choose the government system they want.  They should have the right to make that decision.  If they want a republic, they should be able to say so.  We’ll fight to bring back our rights to being human.

‘This article [112] in its enforcement makes humans not human, and its punishment is too harsh.  The prosecution is problematic.  The denial of bail is like conviction in advance.

‘We’re in a climate of fear and silence, as the law makes people afraid of speaking out,’ he said. 

When asked whether his group would continue with the campaign, he said that while he was locked up, his fellows had to continue with it. 

‘We have to move on so that people would not be jailed for nothing.  This has been made an unspeakable issue, particularly among the red shirts.  If you’re red, just breathing or farting makes you guilty,’ he said.

He said that he had not attempted to flee as had been alleged by the Department of Special Investigation, but he had regularly organized tours for the red shirts to visit Angkor Wat.  The group who went with him had bought the tour after seeing an advertisement on his Red Power magazine.   

‘Why should I flee?  Never mind.  Being jailed is another form of fighting.  Actually I did not expect [to be arrested].  But if those in power want me locked up, what can I do?  They think that locking up Surachai, Da and me will make people scared.  But it won’t work.

‘Those who are in jail are confined in terms of space, but those outside are also restricted in their freedom. It’s no different. Without freedom, humans are not human,’ he said.

The Voice of Taksin magazine, whose allegedly offensive content was claimed to be the cause of his arrest, was published in 22 issues.  It was ordered closed by the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation in May last year.  Somyos, however, has continued with Red Power magazine.

On 2 May, the Criminal Court denied his bail request, citing that his alleged offences affected national security and the revered monarchy, which carried severe punishment, and that he might flee, as he had been arrested while trying to go abroad.