Renowned pro-democracy academics have submitted a joint statement to condemn the Thai authorities for the detention of Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, saying the country’s judicial system has failed to safeguard human rights and the rule of law.
At 11 am on 30 January 2017, leading members of the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights (TANC), including Anusorn Unno, Puangthong Pawakapan, Yukti Mukdawijitra, and Pichit Likitkijsomboon, gathered at the Supreme Court in the Chaeng Watthana Government Complex.
In front of the court, Anusorn read the joint statement of the group calling for justice for Jatuphat a, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM).
“Any student of law should be well aware that according to the rule of law, so long as a verdict is not reached, the suspect shall be presumed innocent. This is not to mention that there is no evidence or probable cause at all for Mr Jatupat to tamper with the evidence used in the trial process or to try to flee,” Anusorn read from the group’s statement which was signed by 352 people.
He concluded “We ask that the court consider reversing of the order on Mr Jatupat’s detention once a petition is submitted in the legal process, in order to restore his basic human rights and normalcy to the justice process and to the basic principles of the rule of law.”
Piyanuch Manurangsan, Secretary-General to the Supreme Court President, accepted the statement of the group after Anusorn finished reading it.
The TANC also sent 169 copies of the statement to judges throughout the country to call for the release of Jatuphat and reform of the Thai judicial system as a whole.
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.
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 However, his bail was revoked on 22 December after he posted a satirical message mocking authorities on his Facebook account.
Anusorn Unno reads the statement of the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights (TANC) in front of the Supreme Court on 30 January 2017