A student activist convicted of lèse majesté has revealed that prison staff ordered him to take off his clothes and rubbed his genitals five times in a search for drugs.
On 16 November 2017, Jatupat Boonpattaraksa, also known as Pai Dao Din, was summoned to Phu Khiao Provincial Court to be tried for violating the 2016 Referendum Act.
Jatupat and another student activist, Wasin Prommanee, were accused of inciting chaos during the junta-sponsored constitutional referendum in August 2016. The authorities pressed charges against them for distributing leaflets campaigning for a “No” vote in the referendum.
Pai was already serving a jail term for lèse majesté in Khon Kaen Prison but was transferred to Phu Khiao Prison on 24 October to undergo a second prosecution.
Pai told the media at the court that he has repeatedly experienced harassment after his transfer to Phu Khiao Prison. When he arrived, one prison officer conducted a body search for drugs and told him to take all his clothes off. The officer also spread Pai’s anus and rubbed his genitals five times.
Pai added that he has to undergo this treatment every time he leaves the prison, even to attend a trial like today.
Pai asked that why prison staff have to search his body so thoroughly as if he was a drug convict. He does not understand why he has to be searched before going to court as he had been in detention all the time.
He will be summoned to court again in February next year to attend witness hearings.
Jatupat pleaded guilty
to lèse majesté for sharing on his Facebook account a controversial biography of King Vajiralongkorn published by BBC Thai and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
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 also awarded
the prestigious Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in recognition of his fight against military dictatorship.