15 activists, including Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa, have been summoned to Pathumwan Police Station on sedition charges filed by Col Burin Thongprapai, says Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).
The Dao Din are Thailand’s best known student activist group, with one activist (Pai) in prison for lèse-majesté and others facing charges of illegal assembly. Started fourteen years ago at the beginning of the Faculty of Law of Khon Kaen University, the nascent Dao Din consisted of first year students who went into the field on a project-by-project basis to survey the injustices faced by villagers in the Northeast. The Dao Din mainly consist of Faculty of Law students, around 90%, with another 10% coming from Humanities and Social Sciences, Economics, Engineering, Education, and Nursing.
Although the Constitution supposedly guarantees the right to bail, it is as if that right does not exist for a lèse majesté suspect. In the case of Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa, the court seemed to improvise the reason for revoking bail beyond what the law allows, an expert says.
A student activist has been arrested in Khon Kaen for a peaceful, symbolic protest against the junta. On 21 December 2017, a military prosecutor in Khon Kaen detained Phanuphong Sithananuwat, 22, a student activist from the pro-democracy Dao Din group. Authorities arrested Phanuphong while he was attending a trial for another lawsuit, in which he stands accused of criticising the junta’s charter in July 2016. According to a local source, the court has granted him bail.
A provincial court has handed a six-month suspended jail term to a prominent anti-junta activist while putting six other activists on probation for one year. On 2 November 2017, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court read the verdict for seven pro-democracy youth activists indicted for contempt of court for organising activities on 10 February 2017 in symbolic support of Jatupat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa, They aimed to draw attention to issues in Thailand’s justice system.
A military court has accepted a case against eight individuals who participated in seminar last year on the junta-backed constitution. Three are human rights defenders who came merely to observe the event. On 17 October 2017, Khon Kaen Military Court accepted a case against five student activists and three human rights defenders.
The security forces have sent a security officer to video-record the trial of activists charged with contempt of court despite the court’s prohibition.
The defence lawyer of Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa has revealed that the renowned democracy activist chose to plead guilty because he was being tried in camera, with observers and the media not allowed into the courtroom. After standing firm behind bars for almost eight months, the abrupt decision of Jatuphat, a law student and key democracy activist, to plead guilty took many people by surprise.
“Pai Dao Din should never have had to face trial in the first place. His guilty plea should not be considered as an admission of criminal responsibility as the courts regularly halve sentences for defendants who have pleaded guilty in such cases. Pai Dao Din must be released immediately and unconditionally.” Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, on the imprisonment of Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa 15 August 2017
A provincial court has held the first hearing in the lèse majesté trial of Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa in camera. On 3 August 2017, the provincial court of Khon Kaen held the first plaintiff witness hearing in the case of Jatuphat, a well-known anti-junta activist detained for royal defamation. Before the hearing began, the court posted a notice in front of the courtroom informing about 10 people who came to show support for Jatuphat and other observers that the trial would be held in camera.