Saturday, July 3, 2010

Buddhist Personality : Suwicha Thakhor

Suwicha, a father of three was born on April 29, 1974 in Nakhon Phanom province, Thailand as the 2nd son of a farmer family. He has 2 siblings, a sister and a brother. He studied at an Civil Aviation Institute during his teen years but had to leave his studies after his girlfriend ( now wife ) got pregnant. He became a father when he was 18.

He was arrested on January 14, 2009 and sentenced to 10 years jail last April 3 for uploading a video containing images deemed as insults to the king of Thailand on Youtube ( no longer available ). On 28 April 2009, Reporters Without Borders wrote to Thailand’s king asking him to pardon Suwicha .Talking from prison, Suwicha told RWB:

I posted a video of the king on the Internet. The police should have told me what I was doing was wrong. It is not right to be sentenced to 10 years in prison for this. I am not a problem for the country or its security. I am in prison for nothing.” Now I’m trying to turn to Dharma, particularly the 3 characteristics of all things, Anicca (impermanence), Dukkha (suffering), and Anatta (illusion of self). I’ve been trying to seek freedom like a fish stuck in a net; the more you struggle, the tighter it gets. Looking around, I see other convicts still smile, laugh and make jokes among themselves. But I feel tortured. My wife cries. I don’t know how my children are living. I cry each time I think of them. I feel sorry for my youngest child who has yet to learn about this [lese majeste conviction] because his mother has not told him, sparing him the pain that his brother and sister have felt.

He was pardoned by King Bhumipol on 28 June, 2010 and was released the following day. A day after he was released, he went to Sirirat Hospital to pay respect to HM and gave an interview, thanking HM for showing mercy and urging all Thai to be grateful to what HM has done to the country

In an interview with Reporters Without Borders after his release,he said,

“Prison was very tough. At first I was completely shattered. I hit rock bottom. I had to fight to survive. Fortunately my family visited me often. I kept going by following the teachings of Buddhism and practising meditation. I now feel fine but I have lost my job. I will probably become a monk for a while.”

Suvicha added: “It pains me to think of the four or five other people who are still in prison on lèse majesté charges, the political prisoners and other detainees. The current situation in Thailand is very worrying. It is a difficult time for the country. I thank all those who helped me, for keeping up the pressure all the time I was held.”

The video of him paying respect to the King after his release