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Academics petition courts to reconsider bail for activist Pai Dao Din

Jan 30. 2017
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By The Nation

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An academic network promoting civil rights yesterday submitted a petition to the Supreme Court and chiefs of regional and provincial courts calling for the revocation of student activist Jatupat Boonphatraksa’s bail to be reconsidered.

Jatupat, 25, better known as Pai Dao Din, was charged after sharing an online BBC Thai article about the monarchy in early December.

Anusorn Unno, a key member of the Thai Academic Network for Civil Rights, along with around 10 fellows, submitted the petition signed by more than 300 national and foreign academics. The group also called on the courts to help revive people’s “faith in justice”.

Jatupat was the only person charged with violating the lese majeste law and the Computer Crime Act for posting the BBC Thai article on his Facebook page, despite more than 2,000 others sharing it. He was initially released on Bt400,000 bail.

A Khon Kaen police officer later petitioned the court, saying Jatupat continued to incite the public on social media and he could tamper with evidence if he were to remain free. Further posts on his Facebook page while on bail were deemed to have ridiculed authorities.

The court cancelled Jatupat’s bail, saying he had violated its conditions. The Appeal Court upheld the first court’s ruling and the Supreme Court later upheld rulings by both courts.

Earlier this month, Jatupat’s legal team made another attempt to secure bail but the application was again rejected.

He is under his fifth round of 12-day detention. The maximum is 84 days.

Anusorn, a sociology scholar at Thammasat University, said revocation of Jatupat’s bail as well as his renewed request for bail should be subject to the court’s consideration when the right to temporary release is applied via legitimate channels.

Legally speaking, a person is regarded as innocent until a final court delivers its verdict, Anusorn said. In the longer term, the courts should help protect people’s rights.

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