Military court refuses to release Pai Dao Din

A military court has revoked bail for an embattled anti-junta activist after summoning him to a witness hearing.

At around 10 am on 27 July 2017, Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa, a law student and key democracy activist, was taken to the Military Court of Khon Kaen for a witness hearing.

The hearing concerns a case in which Jatuphat and six other youth activists are charged with violating of the junta’s ban on political gatherings of five or more persons after they gathered at the replica of the Democracy Monument in Khon Kaen Province to commemorate the first anniversary of the coup d’état on 22 May 2015.

The other accused are Apiwat Soontararak, Payu Boonsophon, Panupong Srithananuwat, Suvicha Tipangkorn, Supachai Pukrongploy, and Wasant Satesit.

In this case, Jatuphat was granted 10,000 baht bail on 23 August 2015.  

After the hearing, which was held in camera, the military court revoked bail, reasoning that Jatuphat is also facing a royal defamation charge.

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 However, his bail was revoked on 22 December after he posted a satirical message mocking the authorities on his Facebook account.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 ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa escorted by officers in front of Khon Kaen Military Court on 27 July 2017 (Photo from Bow Nuttaa Mahattana's Facebook)