Conviction of Thai editor undermines freedom of expression: Pillay

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Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The conviction and harsh sentencing of an editor in Thailand on Wednesday undermines freedom of expression in the country, says the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a prominent activist and editor of Voice of Takshin magazine, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for publishing two articles considered critical to the Monarchy.

Navi Pillay warns that the sentencing sends the wrong signals on freedom of expression in Thailand.

She says the court's decision is the latest indication of a disturbing trend in which charges of insulting the Monarchy, known as lese-majesty charges, are used for political purposes in Thailand.

She adds that she was disturbed that Somyot has been denied bail and presented in court on several occasions wearing shackles as if he were some kind of dangerous criminal.

Ms. Pillay says she welcomes and supports the efforts made by some parliamentarians and academics to propose amendments to Article 112 of the Criminal Code under which the editor was convicted.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'00"

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