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Court defers judgement in Somyos lese-majeste case to Jan 23

The Criminal Court has deferred its ruling in the lese-majeste case against Voice of Taksin editor Somyos Prueksakasemsuk to January 23, citing changes in the panel of judges who handled the case for the delay.



The announcement was made yesterday as one of the four presiding Criminal Court judges spent 30 minutes reading out an earlier ruling by the Constitution Court affirming the constitutionality of the lese-majeste law in front of Somyos.

Somyos appeared in court along with more than 100 supporters and observers, including those from the German and British embassies.

Thai people's reverence for His Majesty the King, said the female judge, citing the Constitution Court's ruling, "is a unique characteristic found in Thailand and unlike anywhere else".

The judge further quoted from the Constitution Court's ruling by adding that violating the lese-majeste law by defaming the monarchy was tantamount to "hurting the feelings of Thai people", thus the harsher penalty compared to defaming an ordinary person was "justified".

Somyos, who appeared in orange prison clothing and was shackled at the ankles, later said he would seek yet another bail hearing soon, adding to the 12 bail requests that have been denied over the past 17 months since he was detained.

He described the negative impact on him and his family of the repeated denial of bail as "incalculable". "It testifies to the fact that Thailand is not yet a fully democratic society," Somyos told The Nation.

Karom Poltaklang, his lawyer, said no arrest warrant had been issued against exiled red-shirt leader Jakrapob Penkair, who was named by Somyos during his testimony earlier this year as the man behind the two articles which resulted in his being charged under lese-majeste law.

This is a good sign, Karom said, adding that Somyos was the editor of the magazine and not the writer of the articles in question. What's more, he said, the content of the articles, which were written with fictitious characters, was also subject to interpretation.




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