Thursday, July 23, 2015

Alan Morison, facing court this week over reporting on corruption in Thailand, fears he won’t survive jail if found guilty

Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathien face trial this week.
Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathien face trial this week. Source: AAP
 
AN AUSTRALIAN journalist facing a lengthy prison term for allegedly defaming the Thai army in an expose on people smugglers in Thailand fears he will not survive in jail should he be convicted following his trial this week. 

Alan Morison, 67, is concerned he will be forced into a crowded cell on the Thai island of Phuket where up to 300 underfed men are forced to sleep on their sides.

He and his Thai colleague will face court over defamation and computer crime charges tomorrow and a verdict is expected to take a month.

This is despite direct representations for the charges to be dropped to Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Australian Ambassador Paul Robilliard.

The editor of Thailand-based online news site Phuketwan and his colleague Chutima “Oi” Sidasathian, 34, are charged over reprinting 41 words from an award winning story by wire service Reuters on the human trafficking and slavery of Burmese migrants.

On trial ... Alan Morison and Thai reporter Chutima Sidasathien will face court over defa
On trial ... Alan Morison and Thai reporter Chutima Sidasathien will face court over defamation and computer crime charges. Source: AAP
 
Reuters and the journalists who won the coveted Pulitzer Prize for their story have not been charged by the Thai government. Mr Morrison and Ms Chutima — who assisted the Reuters journalist in translating and identifying difficult to access areas of the Thai coast where the human trade was taking place — say they have had no offers of support from Reuters.

The pair’s work has seen them regularly visit Phuket’s prisons with the local police.

“I know what it’s like,” Mr Morison said.

He said Australian journalist Peter Greste, who was in prison in Egypt in from December 2013-Februray 2015 “lived in luxury compared to the conditions in Phuket prison.”

“People who are forced to live on Thai prison food waste away pretty quickly,” he said, describing it as “appalling”.

“Medical attention and dental attention are hard to get. At my age, frankly, I am not sure I would survive,” he said.

Action ... Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is being urged to intervene.
Action ... Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is being urged to intervene. Source: AFP
 
Mr Morison moved to Thailand in 2002 before starting Phuketwan with Ms Chutima in 2008 after a distinguished career in Australian journalism working for both News Corporation and Fairfax. He began as a cadet at the Melbourne Herald and his career included two lengthy stints at The Age as well as one at the Sunday Herald.

He said that while he and Ms Chutima were prepared for the emotional tribulations of their upcoming trial, the added burden of both their fathers being ill has been devastating. The men died within two days of each other three weeks ago.

“To have both our fathers die without being able to spend more time with them adds to the deep seated resentment about this unjust case,” Mr Morison said.

“And while Chutima was able to have her father’s support ahead of the case, my sisters thought it best that I not tell my father what I was facing when I last saw him in February.

“I will never know what he thought but as a World War 2 veteran and the son of Gallipoli veteran, I think he would have wanted me to fight this.”

The heads of the Australian Embassy’s political and consular sections Sarah Roberts and Kirsten Fletcher will attend the trial on behalf of the Australian Government.

“I don’t want to be a martyr,” Mr Morison said.

“We are prepared to take risks to achieve the only possible outcome which is to prevent these laws being to applied to anyone else.”

news.com.au 13 July 2015

Don't worry good people, laws like this may also be around the corner for 'Australians'.

Wouldn't the corporation conglomerate (commonly referred to as the government) love to officially implement a law like this in Australia?

When you are in the process of letting the cat out of the bag, information that is truly undesired to be out in the open, you get a knock on your door, or a phone call that if you don't stop, your family will get hurt.

This is how it's done in Australia (unofficially of course).

Thailand's corruption - EAT YOUR HEART OUT!

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