Ruling in Somsak Jeam v. Thammasat Shelved Indefinitely

Somsak Jeamteerasakul speaks at a March 2013 panel discussion in Bangkok. Photo: Prachatai / YouTube

By Teeranai Charuvastra
Staff Reporter

BANGKOK — A ruling in a wrongful termination suit brought by fugitive university professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul against Thammasat University has been indefinitely postponed, his lawyer said.

The Administrative Court was scheduled to rule Tuesday on whether Thammasat unfairly dismissed Somsak after he went into exile in France as alleged by the former professor, who is a frequent critic of the monarchy and fled Thailand shortly after the May 2014 coup.

His lawyer, Pavinee Chumsri, said the court has placed its ruling on indefinite hold without explanation. The decision comes days after the head judge on the panel hearing the case signaled his support for Somsak’s claim.

Thammasat Dismissed Somsak Jeam Unfairly, Judge Agrees

Somsak filed the lawsuit in September, seven months after he was expelled in absentia by the university for failing to appear without tendering his resignation 15 days prior to his absence.

Somsak’s lawyer argued that his client could neither report to work nor properly submit his resignation because he had fled the country in fear of his safety. The former historian was wanted by authorities for defaming the Royal Family, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He now resides in France.

The postponement came less than a week after the head judge in the case expressed his support for Somsak’s argument at a March 1 hearing.

“I believe the tribunal should consider repealing the order of Thammasat University that expelled Mr. Somsak,” the judge said in his legal opinion of the suit’s merits.

The court will set a new date for its decision in the future, Somsak’s attorney Pavinee said Friday, according to the website of Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the organization she works for.


Teeranai Charuvastra can be reached at [email protected] and @Teeranai_C.

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