“Protecting” King Vajiralongkorn is now a major task for the military dictatorship. It believes that attacking young activists kills two birds with one stone, “protecting” the new king from his past and policing and disciplining anti-junta activists.
Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa is charged with sharing a BBC Thai report on the new king on his Facebook page. Thousands of others shared the same report, but the only case of a lese majeste case seems to be against Jatuphat. This is probably because he is a political activist. As Prachatai puts it, he “is a key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM) anti-junta activist group. He currently faces several charges for organising and participating in anti-junta activities.”
Jatuphat, or Pai, was first arrested on 3 December 2016, just two days after the king’s accession. He was initially granted bail, but this was withdrawn “on 22 December after he posted a satirical message mocking authorities on his Facebook account.” Mocking the thugs is almost as dangerous as lese majeste, and his bail was removed because he failed to show “due respect” for the military thugs, kangaroo courts and Keystone Cops.
His appeal for a renewal of bail was rejected on 27 December 2016 by “an appeal court in Khon Kaen Province…. The court reasoned that Jatuphat does not seem to respect the law or state authorities, adding that he could intervene with evidence if released.”
The Bangkok Post reports that the appeals court “upheld the lower court’s judgement, saying the 25-year-old anti-junta activist and law student had shown his behaviour in social media since he was granted bail could be construed as an attempt to challenge state power and to show disrespect for the rule of law. It was likely Mr Jatupat would continue to act that way.”
The notion that there is anything about “rule of law” associated with Thailand’s judiciary, most especially in lese majeste cases, is quite bizarre. In fact, these courts continue the practice of treating all cases that “challenge state power” as “special,” making “law” up as they go along, to “protect” state power.