Sunday, February 3, 2013

U.S. State Department Makes a Statement Regarding Somyot - Finally

In my previous post I discussed the inaction of the U.S. Embassy in Thailand towards the unjust treatment of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk. Somyot was the editor of a now defunct Thai magazine who was recently convicted of lese majeste and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

While the U.S. Embassy has still been inactive there has been a statement regarding Somyot by the U.S. State Department in Washington.

In their daily debriefing/press conference at the White House on January 30th, as a response to a question by a reporter the State Department finally made a statement.

"We are deeply concerned by the criminal court's decision to sentence Mr. Prueksakasemsuk ... to ten years imprisonment for violating Article 112 of the criminal code and for an additional year for a sentence that was previously suspended. Obviously, no one should be jailed for peacefully expressing their views. We regularly urge Thai authorities on a regular basis, both privately and publicly, to ensure that expression is not criminalized and freedom of expression is protected in accordance with Thailand's international obligations."

It's kind of weak but better than nothing at all. I'm wondering when the U.S. government will stop being "concerned" and start being "aggressively agitated" when it comes to Thailand's inhumanity towards others as a result of lese majeste. 

And kudos to the reporter for inquiring about Somyot in the first place. It is interesting to me that he first asked the question two days prior to this and the State Department had no response.  Maybe next time the State Department's response will come quicker and won't be buried in the back of their "debriefing playbook."