Court denies bail for Pai Dao Din in secret hearing

A provincial court in northeastern Thailand has denied bail for an anti-junta student activist accused of lèse majesté.

At about 12:30 pm on 20 January 2016, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court of in an in-camera hearing granted police permission to continue the detention of Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM).

Jatuphat is accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for sharing on his Facebook account a controversial biography of King Vajiralongkorn published by BBC Thai. He is the first person to be arrested for lèse majesté under the reign of the new King.

When the court informed the activist that the hearing would be held in secret, Jatuphat objected to the procedure, adding he does not need a lawyer and will not sign any documents.

About 40 people, including Sulak Sivaraksa, the renowned anti-lèse majesté Thai scholar; Netiwit Chotipatpaisal, a well-known student activist; and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a Thammasat University law lecturer, travelled to Khon Kaen to observe the trial and offer moral support to the embattled activist.  

This is the fifth time the court has extended pre-trial custody. Jatuphat will be detained in Khon Kaen Prison for 12 more days with the possibility of a further renewal.

Shortly after he was arrested for lèse majesté on 3 December 2016, the court released Jatuphat on bail. However, his bail was revoked on 22 December after he posted a satirical message mocking authorities on his Facebook account.

The message read, “Economy is poor but they (authorities) took my money for bail.”

Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa