Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Human rights body demands of release of student activist Pai Dao Din

Jan 23. 2017
Activists rally in Bangkok  last week to demand release of Jatupat Boonphatraksa, the student pro-democracy activist charged with lese majeste.
Activists rally in Bangkok last week to demand release of Jatupat Boonphatraksa, the student pro-democracy activist charged with lese majeste.
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By The Nation

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New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) Monday called on Thai authorities to immediately release Jatupat Boonphatraksa, the student pro-democracy activist charged with lese majeste and Computer Crime Act violations.

In a statement, the human rights body also denounced the junta for misusing the law against dissenters.

HRW’s Asia director Brad Adams also said Thailand’s military rulers have aggressively clamped down on any speech they find offensive, including what they arbitrarily deem is critical of the monarchy.

The human rights organisation said lese majeste, or the Article 112 of the Criminal Code, should bar private actions, including by the military, which had been routinely used for political purposes. 

HRW said past practice had shown the authorities had difficulty rejecting allegations filed by private individuals for fear of themselves being accused of disloyalty to the monarchy.

Jatupat, better known as Pai Dao Din, has been detained since early last month after sharing an article by BBC Thai about the monarchy. Nearly 3,000 people shared the article, but only Jatupat was charged.

Jatupat, 25, was released on Bt400,000 bail the day after his arrest on December 3, but on December 22 the bail was revoked following a police petition to the court after the student wrote another Facebook post deemed to be satirising the authorities. The provincial court ruled that he broke the bail condition.

The activist made additional requests for bail to sit a final university exam in order to graduate this year, but all were rejected.

“Instead of punishing him before trial, the charges against him should be dropped immediately,” Adams said, remarking that injustice has been made even worse by the prolonged pre-trial detention.

 

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