Jatupat (“Pai”) Boonphattararaksa, law school student at Khon Kaen University has been detained since December (and can receive up to a 15 year sentence) for a Facebook post that was insulting to the monarch. Pai has been denied bail because the post was not removed. Pai has been continually subjected to internal searches and there is concern that he is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. On June 15, CCS wrote the Minister of Justice in Thailand requesting that he look into this case and consider the time that has been served for simply exercising his fundamental right to freedom of expression.
June 15, 2017
Minister of Justice
Government Centre Building A
120 Moo 3
Bangkok 10210, Thailand
Fax: +66 2953 0503
Dear Minister Tanyuvardhana:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for Jatupat (Pai) Boonphattararaksa, a law student at Khon Kaen University, who has been detained since December 3 for a Facebook post. He faces the possibility of 15 years in prison for insulting the monarchy (lèse majesté).
The post in question was the sharing of a profile of the then new King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun that had been published on the internet by BBC Thailand on December 2, and subsequently blocked by your government. Mr. Jatupat continues to be denied bail, allegedly because the offending post has not been taken down and because of other social media posts deemed to be a threat to security. He has been detained for almost half a year. He is reported to have been repeatedly subjected to degrading internal searches, and we are concerned that he is at risk of being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.
Lèse majesté provisions have rightly been referred to as “incompatible with human rights law” by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Freedom of Opinion and Expression. If your government is truly committed to freedom of expression, association and assembly, as we believe you are, you should have Mr. Boonphattararaska released immediately and unconditionally. He is being subjected to long term pre-trial detention, and could potentially spend years in prison, for simply exercising these fundamental rights.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Pol. Gen Chakthip Chaijinda
Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police
Royal Thai Police Headquarters
Rama 1 Road, Pathum Wan
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Fax: +66 2251 4739
Ambassador Pisan Manawapat
Royal Embassy of Thailand
1024 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007
Contact form: http://thaiembdc.org/contact/