Tag Archives: Thailand

Thailand: On 4th anniversary of Thai coup, former law student remains in prison

May 21, 2018

(Jatupat ‘Pai Dao Din’ Boonpattararaksa (right) and Boonpattararaksa (left) and Vasin Prommanee, seen here at the time of their arrest, had charges dropped of violating the constitution referendum law.)

On May 22, 2014, the National Council for Peace and Order came to power in Thailand. The four years since have seen a dramatic increase in the number of prosecutions for the crime of lèse majesté, or insulting the crown. On the four year anniversary of the coup, Scholars at Risk (SAR) remains particularly concerned over the sentencing on lèse majesté charges of Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa, a former Khon Kaen University law student and activist.

SAR understands that on December 2, 2016, Mr. Boonpattararaksa posted a BBC Thai article about King Rama X, who ascended the throne that month, on his Facebook account. Authorities arrested him the following day, charging him under Article 112 with lèse majesté, marking the first instance of a student detained in connection with such a charge since the new king’s ascension to the throne. Although the article has reportedly been reposted by more than 2,500 others, we understand that only Mr. Boonpattararaksa was arrested and charged with a crime for doing so.

SAR further understands that Mr. Boonpattararaksa was released on bail the day after his arrest, but was re-arrested and his bail revoked on December 22, 2016, after he posted additional Facebook comments regarding the circumstances of his arrest and prosecution. On February 10, 2017, following weeks of protests and calls for his release, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court formally indicted Mr. Boonpattararaksa on charges of lèse majesté and violation of Article 14 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act, which criminalizes the “importation of illegal computer content.” Mr. Boonpattararaksa’s requests for bail were denied ten times by the court, most recently on June 30, 2017. Following more than seven months of detention, Mr. Boonpattararaksa pleaded guilty to the charges against him on August 15, 2017. The court sentenced him to five years in prison, a term which was then reduced to two and a half years. Mr. Boonpattararaksa reportedly took his final exams for law school while in prison, in December 2017; however, he was not permitted to participate in graduation ceremonies.








Thailand: Laying down the law

March 19, 2018

Recent high-profile court cases have led to some lawyers becoming media darlings. But does their increased profile help secure justice for clients or demean the judicial system? 

The image of an attorney of law is traditionally that of a formal, reserved figure in a suit and tie who mostly works from behind the scenes. But in recent months in Thailand, the spotlight has been cast…






Thailand: Regulations spur party leaders to start from scratch

February 10, 2018

Image result for Arnon Nampa

Leaders of several small political parties have decided to start from scratch and form new ones to evade regulations requiring updated party membership information, which are seen as excessive and burdensome.

Under new rules, existing parties can begin their member registration process on April 1. The members are required to produce letters confirming their membership and pay party fees within 30 days of April 1 or lose their membership status.

The regulations, however, are seen as favourable to new political parties which have a month’s headstart. The registration process for new parties starts on March 1 and ends on March 31.

In a separate development, the Democracy Restoration Group and the Start Up People group were set to gather at the Democracy Monument at 4pm today.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Court yesterday approved arrest warrants for four protest leaders who twice failed to report to police to hear illegal assembly charges. The four are Arnon Nampa, Rangsiman Rome, Aekachai Hongkangwan and Sirawith Seritiwat.

Mr Arnon yesterday said he would be at today’s rally to demand an election.









January 30, 2018

From left, an unidentified protest photographer, Rangsiman Rome, Nutta Mahattana and Sirawit Seritiwat at Saturday's protest on the Skywalk at Pathumwan intersection in Bangkok.

The junta has ordered seven of the most prominent pro-democracy activists charged with crimes including sedition after they launched a protest campaign calling for general elections to be held in November.

Col. Burin Thongprapai, acting on behalf of the military junta, filed police complaints Tuesday morning at Bangkok’s Pathumwan Police Station against the seven well-known activists.

He said that he has solid recorded evidence that the seven protest leaders have violated the junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than four and committed acts of incitement against the state.

“We collected their deeds in detail,” Burin said, referring to a protest held Saturday on the Skywalk at Pathumwan Intersection.

Several hundred protesters showed that day. Burin, who said he acted on the orders of the National Council for Peace and Order, the formal name of the military junta, said the seven were singled out because they are leaders and committed sedition.

The charged are a who's who of Thailand's pro-democracy movement. From left, Sirawit Seritiwat, Sukrid Peansuwan, Nutta Mahattana, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, Ekachai Hongkangwan, Arnon Nampa and Rangsiman Rome.

(The charged are a who’s who of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement. From left, Sirawit Seritiwat, Sukrid Peansuwan, Nutta Mahattana, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, Ekachai Hongkangwan, Arnon Nampa and Rangsiman Rome.)

The seven are Sirawit Seritiwat, Nutta Mahattana, Democracy Restoration Group leader Rangsiman Rome, student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, former lese majeste convict turned political activist Ekachai Hongkangwan, human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa and newcomer student activist Sukrid Peansuwan.



Thailand: Anon Nampa charged with contempt of court over social media post

January 16, 2018


On 10 January 2018, Thai human rights lawyer and pro-democracy activist Anon Nampa appeared at the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) of the police to hear charges against him for contempt of court and violation of cyber crime laws as per the Computer Crime Act. If found guilty, he could face up to five years in prison for violating the Computer Crime Act and up to seven years in prison for contempt of court.

On 10 January 2018, Anon Nampa was charged with contempt of court in relation to a Facebook post which allegedly violated Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act. The Facebook post expressed views on a verdict delivered by Khon Kaen Court on 2 November 2017 in relation to a case where seven anti-junta activists were found guilty of contempt of court for their peaceful gathering in front of the court in support of Jatupat Boonpattararaksa. In the verdict, the seven activists were prohibited from associating with each other or repeating the same activity. In the Facebook post, Anon Nampa questioned whether it was fair or even possible for the court to prohibit the activists from associating with each other.

Anon Nampa has denied all charges. He believes that the charges are politically motivated and that he was exercising his right to freedom of expression. According to his lawyer, it should be noted that the charges were pressed by security officers rather than the Khon Kaen Provinical Court.




December 14, 2017

A well-known human rights lawyer was summoned by police Thursday to hear charges of violating the Computer Crime Act and contempt of court.

Arnon Nampa, who has represented numerous pro-democracy activists and rights advocates, denied any wrongdoing and said the charges were lodged because of his activism against the military regime. A string of junta opponents has faced similar charges in recent months.

Arnon responded to the news by posting the summons letter he received from the police and in his irreverent and chauvinist style suggested that potential suitors seek him out while they can.

“Girls who want to screw this little lawyer better hurry because this time I’m in for serious charges = contempt of court, violating the court’s authority and the Computer Crime Act! If I am imprisoned, it will be long. You can send a message to my inbox. First come, first served,” he wrote today on Facebook.

Thailand’s contempt of court statute has become broadly interpreted to punish any remark deemed offensive or even critical of the courts and their rulings.

Apart from serving as a lawyer, Arnon also leads an activist group called Resistant Citizens.




Thailand: Jailed democracy activist dons graduation robes at Military Circle

December 22, 2017

Graduation day for Jatupat Boonpattararaksa may come later than for others but the student activist serving jail time over politically related charges eventually got to wear his Khon Kaen University’s graduation robes on Thursday, although the were donned over a prison uniform.

Newly graduating from the law faculty, the Pai Dao Din member was unable to join his fellow grads on commencement day as he has been detained at a provincial prison for over a year.

Jatupat had been accused for allegedly violating the lese majeste law and the computer crime bill for sharing a BBC Thai article on his Facebook account last December. They were among a number of charges that the defiant pro-democracy activist is facing for having campaigned against the ruling junta.

Many bail attempts have been made but all were refused.

On Thursday, he was brought from Khon Kaen Special Correctional Institution to provide testimony at the 23rd Military Circle Court together with another seven defendants for a charge of allegedly breaking the junta’s ban of political gathering of five or more people in July 2016.

That court appearance was when Jatupat was given a brief moment wearing his graduation gown. He enjoyed the usual graduation photos taken with parents – and supporters – and smiling before being detained again.

In October, a military prosecutor filed charges against the eight for they organising a public forum at Khon Kaen University to discuss the then-draft charter. The prosecutor deemed the act a violation of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order No. 3/2015.