The Appeal Court has once again refused to release an activist detained for sharing BBC Thai’s most popular story, which is now censored in Thailand.
On 5 April 2017, Appeal Court Region 4 confirmed the ruling of the Court of First Instance not to release Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM).
The ruling was read after Jatuphat’s lawyer submitted a request to appeal the earlier second ruling not to release the activist.
Citing the same reason, the judges argued that the activist mocked the authority of the state without fearing the law and is also battling another charge for violating the Public Referendum Act and the junta’s political gathering ban in his previous political activities.
The court dismissed the defence lawyer’s argument that there is no point in detaining Jatuphat further because the case’s investigation process is already completed; the court reasoned that the suspect could try to interfere with evidence or jump bail if he is released.
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 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 However, his bail was revoked on 22 December after he posted a satirical message mocking the authorities on his Facebook account.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 and millions read it, he was the only one arrested for lèse majesté.
Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa