Submitted on Tue, 23 Aug 2016 - 07:06 PM
A military court in Thailand’s northeast has granted bail for a hunger striking anti-junta student activist. A t-shirt with the word “commoners" has been also deemed a threat to national security by a court officer.
On Tuesday, 23 August 2016, the military court in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen granted bail for Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa, also known as Phai, the pro-democracy activist who staged a hunger strike from 6 to 19 August. The bail costed 10,000 baht and Phai has to appear at the court again on 27 October for a deposition hearing, reported Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.
Jatuphat talks to his supporters from behind jail bars
Phai was charged by the junta's NCPO’s Order No. 3/2015, the junta’s ban on public gatherings, after participating in an anti-junta campaign in Khon Kaen a year earlier. He is a student activist from the Dao Din group, a pro-democracy group based in Khon Kaen University fighting for local resources and community rights.
This is just one of the four charges Phai is facing. Prior to the event, he was arrested on 6 August for handing out flyers campaigning against the junta-backed draft charter in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum. He was later detained at Phu Kaio District’s prison where he staged a hunger strike for nearly two weeks. After being released on bail from that first prison on 19 August, he was immediately transferred to Khon Kaen.
Many people including local activists, villagers from Loei Province, and lecturers and students from Khon Kaen University showed up at the court to express their support to Phai. However only a few of them were allowed to observe the hearing and were only allowed to talk to the activist through jail bars for 30 minutes before soldiers took him inside the court.
A female activist was also barred from the hearing since she wore a t-shirt printed with the word ‘commoner’. The court reasoned that her t-shirt might threaten Thailand’s so-called national security.
The t-shirt printed with the word ‘commoner’
After the activist was released, he was warmly welcomed with white powder by his supporters in front of the court