Appeal Court sentences Thai editor to 10 years in jail for lese majeste

The Appeal Court on Friday affirmed the decision of the Court of First Instance to sentence Somyos Prueksakasemsuk to 10 years in jail for editing lèse majesté articles written by others.
 
Somyos Prueksakasemsuk has been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison for almost four years.
 
He was found guilty of being the editor of Voice of Taksin monthly magazine which published two articles deemed to insult the King.  

The two articles were written in the magazine under the pen name of 'Jit Polachan’, believed to be Jakrapob Penkair, a Thai politician living in self-exile in Cambodia, in February and March 2010.

 

Somyos (File photo taken in 2013)

In one article, Jit Polachan tells the story of a fictional character called “Luang Narueban of the Ghost Hotel”. The Court interpreted the story as defaming the Thai King.
 
In January 2013, the Court of First Instance sentenced Somyos to ten years imprisonment without suspension.
 
In January 2013, Somyos took his case to the Appeal Court and argued that according to the law on publications, editors are not be held liable for any content published under their authorisation. However, the Appeal Court dismissed the claim, saying that the charges filed against him are under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, not the Press Act.
 
On 23 January 2013, he was also sentenced to one additional year of imprisonment for defaming Gen Saphrang Kalayanamit.
 
None of Somyos’s family members and lawyers were presented at the court on Friday because they were not informed by the court in advance.
 
“The fact that the authority didn’t inform on the day that the verdict’s going to be delivered is not in accordance with the rule and is not transparent. I missed an opportunity to listen to the verdict myself, especially when the court affirmed the verdict. This greatly affected him. I wanted to come and supported him, but I couldn’t,” said Sukanya.