Thailand: Arbitrary detention of pro-democracy activist Mr. Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa (aka Pai)

17/01/2017
Urgent Appeal

THA 001 / 0117 / OBS 006
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Thailand
January 17, 2017

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of student and pro-democracy activist Mr. Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa (aka Pai), a member of the Dao Din group [1] and the New Democracy Movement (NDM) [2].

According to the information received, on January 13, 2017, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court refused to grant bail to Mr. Jatuphat for the fourth time. In addition, on January 16, 2017, the same court rejected a request filed by Mr. Jatuphat’s legal team that sought the release of their client so he could sit his final exam at Khon Kaen University on January 17-18, 2017. The exam is mandatory to complete his bachelor’s degree in law. On January 20, police are expected to request an additional 12-day extension of Mr. Jatuphat’s detention.

Mr. Jatuphat is being detained in Khon Kaen Provincial Correctional Institution on lese-majesté charges under Article 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crimes Act. The charges stem from a Facebook post in which Mr. Jatuphat shared a profile of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, published on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Thai language service’s website on December 2, 2016.

The Observatory noted that, to date, Mr. Jatuphat is the only individual who has been arrested and charged among the approximately 3,000 web users who shared the BBC profile of the Thai King on Facebook. It is believed that the charges against him are aimed at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities.

Arrested on December 3, 2016, Mr. Jatuphat was released on a 400,000 Thai baht (approx. 10,620 Euros) bail the following day. However, on December 22, 2016, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court approved a police request to revoke Mr. Jatuphat’s bail after he posted a sarcastic Facebook message that read: “The economy is poor so they [the authorities] took my bail money”.

On January 6, 2017, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court read behind closed doors the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss a motion to overturn the bail revocation order filed by Mr. Jatuphat’s lawyers on December 29, 2016. On the same day, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court approved the police request to detain Mr. Jatuphat for another 12 days, from January 9 to 20, 2017.

In addition, the Observatory has been informed about abusive cavity searches to which Mr. Jatuphat has been regularly subjected in Khon Kaen Provincial Correctional Institution, every time he returns from a court hearing.

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Mr. Jatuphat, which seem only to be aimed at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory urges Thai authorities to ensure Mr. Jatuphat’s physical and psychological integrity and to immediately and unconditionally release him.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Thai authorities asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa, as well as that of all human rights defenders in Thailand;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa as his detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Mr. Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa, as well as all human rights defenders in Thailand;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, 6, 9, and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Thailand.

Addresses:

· Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand, Fax: +66 (0) 2 282 5131
· Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Fax: +66 (0) 2 643 5320; Email: minister@mfa.go.th
· Suwaphan Tanyuvardhna, Minister of Justice of Thailand, Fax: +66 (0) 2 953 0503
· Pol Gen Chaktip Chaijinda, Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, Fax: +66 (0) 2 251 5956 / +66 (0) 2 251 8702
· Mr. Wat Tingsamit, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, Email: help@nhrc.or.th
· H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 715 10 00 / 10 02; Email: mission.thailand@ties.itu.int
· Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 648 30 66; Email: thaibxl@pophost.eunet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Thailand in your respective country

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  • Co-signatories

    ***
    Paris-Geneva, January 17, 2017

    Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

    The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

    To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
    · Email: Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org
    · Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
    · Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

  • Member organisations - Thailand
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    Thailand
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    10400 BANGKOK
    +66(0)26154797
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    Thailand
    109 SUTHISARNWINICHAI ROAD
    SAMSENNOK HUAYKWANG
    TH-10310 BANGKOK
    +66 22 75 42 33

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