On 11 April, the Appeal Court has dismissed the charges against four activists and a Prachatai journalist, after they were charged with violating the Public Referendum Act for distributing stickers persuading the people to reject the constitution draft in 2016.
A court in Ratchaburi has acquitted a Prachatai journalist and four activists of violating the Referendum Act. The journalist faced charges for merely reporting on the anti-referendum campaign. On 29 January 2018, the Ratchaburi Provincial Court acquitted Prachatai journalist Taweesak Kerdpoka and the other four activists from the New Democracy Movement.
A student activist convicted of lèse majesté has revealed that prison staff ordered him to take off his clothes and rubbed his genitals five times in a search for drugs. On 16 November 2017, Jatupat Boonpattaraksa, also known as Pai Dao Din, was summoned to Phu Khiao Provincial Court to be tried for violating the 2016 Referendum Act. Jatupat and another student activist, Wasin Prommanee, were accused of inciting chaos during the junta-sponsored constitutional referendum in August 2016.
A provincial court has handed a four-month suspended jail term to a man who attempted to dissuade people from voting in the referendum on the junta-sponsored constitution. On 7 November 2017, Ubon Ratchathani Provincial Court sentenced Wichan Phuwihan, 49, to six months in prison and a 30,000 baht fine, according to iLaw.
A court in Bangkok has sentenced an anti-junta activist to four months in prison for tearing up his ballot paper during the referendum on the junta-sponsored 2017 Constitution, but later halved and suspended the jail term. On 26 September 2017, Phra Khanong Provincial Court sentenced Piyarat ‘Toto’ Chongthep, an anti-junta activist, to four months in prison and a 4,000 baht fine.
Almost one year after the constitution referendum in 2016, the police have concluded to press charges against 11 people accused of breaking the junta’s political gathering ban for participating in a discussion about the 2017 Constitution.
Bangkok’s Military Court has released on bail an embattled activist who was arrested one day before he planned to petition the junta for information about the controversial Thai-Chinese railway deal. On 26 June 2017, the Military Court of Bangkok granted bail to Rangsiman Rome, a key activist from the Democracy Restoration Group (DRG), one day after he was arrested and detained overnight at Chanasongkram Police Station in Bangkok. Bail was set at 60,000 baht.
An anti-junta activist has accused AIS, one of Thailand’s biggest mobile phone service providers, of unlawfully revealing private information about him. Piyarat ‘Toto’ Chongthep, an anti-junta activist, told the media during his trial on 14 June 2017 at Prakhanong Provincial Court in Bangkok that AIS illegally gave private information about him to the authorities. He said that during the trial, an AIS staff member who was called to testify revealed information about his whereabouts and of two other accused, including mobile banking information before and after 7 August 2016.
A democracy activist accused of defying the junta’s ban on political gatherings and the controversial referendum act has vowed to fight the case in a military court while the military prosecutor wants his right to vote to be suspended for a decade. The Military Court of Bangkok on 24 May 2017 held a deposition hearing in the case of Rakchat Wongathichat, a member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM).
After almost three years in power and billions of baht spent in drafting the new constitution, the 20th Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand was officially enacted on 6 April 2017. Thailand has gone through 19 constitutions in less than a century and there is no guarantee that the latest one drafted by the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee will be the last one.