Despite criticism from the UN, a Thai court has refused to release the embattled student activist Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa after public prosecutors indicted him for lèse majesté.
On 10 February 2017, the Provincial Court of Khon Kaen accepted Jatuphat’s case during an in camera hearing after the prosecutor formally indicted him under Article 112 of the Criminal Code — the lèse majesté law.
The prosecutors objected to bail, citing flight risk and the severity of the charge since it is related to the Thai Monarchy.
In addition to Article 112, Jatuphat is also accused of violating Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act for the importation of illegal computer content.
Jatuphat’s defence lawyers said that they will submit a bail request for the activist in a week or two.
Some 50-60 people came to observe the hearing and give Jatuphat moral support, but they were not allowed into the courtroom.
In front of the provincial court, members of the Four Region Student Network read a group statement condemning the court for the prosecution and prolonged pre-trial detention of Jatuphat.
The statement said in part “The judicial system behind us is not independent and just. It has violated the human rights of a man. We as fellow human beings will not accept and tolerate this injustice”.
Jatuphat is accused of violating Article 112 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.
Although more than 2000 people shared the same article on Facebook, he was the only one arrested and accused of lèse majesté.
Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa