Despite the best efforts of his jailers, Behnam Moafi, an Iranian-Swede born in Tehran in 1968, refuses to die. He is serving a 22-year sentence in a Thai prison for extortion, blackmail and armed robbery – a crime, according to Fair Trials International, he did not commit.After eight years of abuse, torture, hunger, solitary confinement, malnutrition, illness and conditions that would push lesser men into insanity, Benny, as he is known to the inmates of Klong Prem Prison, has earned a Thai law degree and learned to play a traditional Thai musical instrument. Preparing his own cases, he has also launched over 130 legal actions against prison officials, police officers and lawyers.
Through several changes of government, a political coup d’état, and great social upheaval, Benny has learned a great deal about Thailand. Indeed many of its dissidents, former leaders and ruling elite have ended up in his prison cell. This month, he lodged a request to have his case re-heard, taking advantage of an obscure loophole in the Thai penal code that allows for this type of review only once in ten years.
Benny has faced far worse odds and has nothing to lose. However, if the ruling is handed down in his favour, several officers of Thailand’s revered judiciary, senior government bureaucrats and the Bangkok-based, foreign chanceries of several different countries will be shamed before the world community.