Anti-coup detainee-turned-lèse majesté suspect released

 
Apichat P., who has been charged with defying the military junta’s orders and later with lèse majesté, was released from Bangkok Remand Prison on Tuesday after the Criminal Court rejected a police request to renew the custody petition. 
 
The 25-year-old law graduate student was arrested at the protest at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) on May 23, only a day after the coup took place. He was detained by the military for seven days before the police charged him with violating the junta’s order and Article 112 in the Criminal Code or the lèse majesté law. In total, he was detained for a month. 
 
Apichat was accused of posting two messages deemed lèse majesté on his personal Facebook account. He admitted that he himself posted the messages, but denied the accusation that they were lèse majesté. 
 
The police told the court that it has not finished drafting the case and the process has been delayed because no academics have agreed to give an opinion on whether the suspect’s Facebook posts were lèse majesté. 
 
The Court then told the police that it should finish drafting the case soon. If the renewal of the custody petition was approved, that would be unfair to the suspect. 
 
The Court at 3 pm on Tuesday rejected a police request to renew the custody petition because the suspect has to look after his mother, has to finish his thesis by 15 July, and has been an intern at the Law Reform Commission of Thailand, an independent state agency; if the suspect was not released, it would affect his works.