People gather to commemorate Pai Dao Din’s 6 months in prison

Supporters of well-known anti-junta activist Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa gathered to demand his release after half a year in detention for sharing a news article deemed defamatory to the monarchy.

To mark the six months in prison of Jatuphat, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), at least a dozen of people gathered at 6 pm on 22 June 2017 on the skywalk at Ratchaprasong Intersection, Bangkok, to demand his release.

About 20 police officers in uniform and plain clothes closely monitored the event, but did not disrupt it.

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 was the first person to be arrested for lèse majesté under the reign of the new King.

Despite the fact that more than 2,000 people shared the same article on Facebook and possibly millions read it, he was the only one arrested.

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 However, his bail was revoked on 22 December after he posted a satirical message mocking the authorities on his Facebook account.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.”

The court has since repeatedly denied him bail for the reason that the activist mocked the authority of the state without fearing the law and is also battling other charges for previously violating the Public Referendum Act and the junta’s ban on political gatherings.

Jatuphat was recently awarded the prestigious Gwangju Prize for Human Rights for his fight against military dictatorship.

Police officers deployed to monitor on the skywalk above Ratchaprasong Intersection the gathering before it started on 22 June 2017