A provincial court has for the 10th time refused to release Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa, a well-known anti-junta activist detained for royal defamation.
On 30 June 2017, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court denied granting bail valued at 700,000 baht to Jatuphat, a law student and key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM).
The court confirmed an earlier ruling of the Appeal Court, reasoning that the activist mocked the authority of the state without sufficiently fearing the law. Moreover, he is also fighting charges of violating the Public Referendum Act and the junta’s political gathering ban as a result of his previous political activities.
The court dismissed arguments from Jatuphat’s family that as a law graduate he is required to sit a training course taught by the Lawyers’ Council Under Royal Patronage, and that if released he could prepare his defence more effectively.
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.
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 However, his bail was revoked on 22 December after he posted a satirical message mocking the authorities on his Facebook account.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 was recently awarded the prestigious Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in recognition of his fight against military dictatorship.
The prosecution witnesses will be heard on 3-4 and 15-17 August while the defence witnesses will be heard on 30-31 August and 5-7 September.
Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa