A provincial court has handed a two and a half year jail term to a well-known democracy activist accused of lèse majesté for sharing a BBC biography of King Vajiralongkorn.
On 15 August 2017, the Provincial Court of Khon Kaen handed a five year sentence to Jatuphat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa, a law student and key democracy activist, accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
The court, however, halved the sentence to two years and six months as he pleaded guilty. Jatuphat has already spent eight months in detention.
The sentence was read swiftly in a hearing held in camera, on the same day that Jatuphat abruptly recanted his claim of innocence.
According to Kritsarang Nutcharat, the defence lawyer, Jatupat chose to plead guilty due to the prolonged trial.
Jatuphat is accused of lèse majesté 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 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.
Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa