Fugitive pro-democracy journalist Jom Petchpradab, who fled Thailand after the 2014 coup, has been granted asylum status in the United States.
The status increases his chance of getting a green card and US citizenship, he said in a Facebook post on Thursday.
Jom left the country after the coup in 2014 when he did not report to the junta despite a summons.
With the asylum status his application for a green card will be easier and should not take longer than four months to complete, he said. After that, he could also apply for citizenship in the US.
Now that he has been granted asylum status, he said he will receive similar benefits as green card holders. He said he was relieved now that he could receive free medical service and assistance in getting trainings and jobs, without having to seek an annual work permit.
“This re-energises me to keep on my journalistic work, as a voice of the Thai people, for democracy,” he wrote on Facebook while also thanking his supporters.
Since the 2014 coup a number of pro-democracy activists fled the country for fear of arbitrary detention and charges on lese majeste.
Some of them, such as red-shirt leader Jaran Ditapichai, monarchy critic Somsak Jeamtheerasakul, and hardcore activist Ekapop Luara, aka Tang Achiwa, have been granted not only asylum but also new nationalities in France and New Zealand respectively for not being able to return home because of political threats.