Thailand: Continued arbitrary detention of Mr. Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa

08/02/2017
Urgent Appeal

New information
THA 001 / 0117 / OBS 006.1

Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Thailand
February 8, 2017

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

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the continued arbitrary detention 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 February 1, 2017, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court approved the police request to detain Mr. Jatuphat for 12 more days. The court also refused to grant him bail for the sixth time. The hearing was held behind closed doors and individuals who wanted to support Mr. Jatuphat were prevented from entering the courtroom. The court set the next hearing to consider the police request for an extension of Mr. Jatuphat’s detention for February 10, 2017. On February 6, 2017, the court announced that the upcoming hearing would be held behind closed doors.

The latest extension of Mr. Jatuphat’s detention stemmed from a police request to be given more time to examine CDs belonging to Mr. Jatuphat that could be used as evidence against the defendant.

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 critical profile of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, published on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Thai language service’s website on December 2, 2016.

Since the beginning of his detention, Mr. Jatuphat has lost six kilograms and has been subjected to abusive cavity searches on several occasions after he returned to the Khon Kaen Provincial Correctional Institution from court hearings.

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.
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.

Background information:

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.

On January 13, 2017, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court refused to grant bail to Mr. Jatuphat for the fifth 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, 2017, following a hearing behind closed doors, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court approved the police request for an extension of Mr. Jatupat’s detention from 21 January 21 to February 1, 2017, citing the ongoing investigation.

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

***
Paris-Geneva, February 8, 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

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