Embattled academic Somsak Jeam back on Facebook, hints at self-exile

Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a renowned anti-coup and anti-lèse majesté law historian on Saturday morning returned to his popular Facebook profile for the first time since his disappearance after the coup in 22 May. 
 
The academic from Thammasat University was among the first group of people summoned by the junta after the coup. Somsak faces lèse majesté charges filed by the Army. He also faced death threats and attacks presumably from royalists who were upset with his courage in raising questions about the role of the monarchy and his constant criticism of the lèse majesté law. 
 
Somsak Jeamteerasakul (file photo)
 
Somsak's Facebook profile, with about 98,000 followers and friends, hosted a very vibrant discussion on the lèse majesté law, monarchy and politics, but after the coup, his Facebook profile disappeared as well as the academic himself.  
 
Since then, pro-democracy red shirts expressed concerns about his safety. Some say he has left the country and lives somewhere abroad in self-imposed exile.  
 
On the morning 22 November, the sixth month anniversary of the coup, Somsak's Facebook page was re-activated. At around noon, the historian posted a video of himself to verify the account.
 
The cover image on Somsak Jeamteerasakul's Facebook page reads "In an era of darkness, rule is by the gun, but people will still be people." 
 
"To all freemen who have faced difficulties in the past six months -- who tried to express by several means that they do not accept the power of the tanks, which tore up our constitution and seized administrative power ... I'm really sorry that I haven't joined you guys," is the first Facebook post since the comeback at 5 am.  
 
Somsak did not reveal his current whereabout, but said  he has not in fact lived at his house for nine months since his house was raked by gunfire from unknown assailants in February.
 
He added he had to travel and change places several times with the help of about 50-60 people who helped him along the way. Some have different political ideologies from him or have had fierce debates with him before, he said with gratitude. 
 
Somsak also praised the student activists who have lately been very active in protesting against the coup.