A provincial court has once again refused to release Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, telling his defence lawyer to stop saying that his client’s rights are being violated.
On 21 March 2017, the Provincial Court of Khon Kaen held the preliminary hearing on the case of Jatuphat, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM).
Before the hearing, Jatuphat’s lawyer requested that the judge postpone the hearing for about one week, reasoning that he did not have a proper chance to consult with his client who has been detained in Khon Kaen Prison for more than three months.
He said that the prison does not provide a room for lawyers to talk with their clients. It was nearly impossible to hold a discussion in a normal visitor room because of the noise.
The lawyer added that prison staff did not permit him to talk to Jatuphat in private and that there is also an interception device in the visitor room.
The court, however, denied the request, saying that the trial should not be delayed further.
After the hearing, the lawyer submitted a 700,000 baht bail request. The court, however, denied this, citing flight risk and the possibility that the defendant could mock the state authorities against once he is released.
The judge then told the defence lawyer to stop saying that Jatuphat’s rights are being violated since he is not the only defendant in Khon Kaen Prison who is consistently denied bail.
During the hearing, Jatuphat said “I just want freedom and fair chance to fight the case. If you want to imprison me, imprison me as a convict, but not as a defendant.” The judge, however, paid no heed to his plea.
The trial will be held until about November 2017. Around 30 witnesses are expected to testify for and against Jatuphat.
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 on 3 December 2016, the court released him on bail. However, his bail was revoked on 22 December after he posted a satirical message mocking the authorities on his Facebook account. The message read, “Economy is poor but they (authorities) took my money for bail.”
Despite the fact that more than 2,000 people shared the same article on Facebook, he was the only one arrested for lèse majesté.
Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa