As we noted in our last post, a secret court session refused Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa (Pai) bail on trumped up lese majeste charges that he somehow “defamed” the new king by reposting a BBC story that mentioned some aspects of Vajiralongkorn’s dubious past. Thousands of others did the same “sharing.”
Khaosod reports that Pai was incensed by this pseudo-legal and opaque process and “will no longer ask the court to free him on bail.”
Secret hearings are the stuff of this military dictatorship and are more or less standard operating procedure for this pseudo-judicial system when dealing with lese majeste cases, especially when those charged are anti-military activists.
Pai’s father, also one of his lawyers, stated: “We will no longer appeal against his ongoing custody. We will not submit any more bail request. Whatever they want to do, they’re free to do it…. He [Pai] believes that it’s no use.”
The report adds that Pai was “incensed when he learned the judges decided to deliberate on his bail request in a secret proceeding reporters and rights observers were not allowed to attend. After his protest was overruled by the court, Jatupat ordered all his lawyers, except Viboon [his dad], to leave the courtroom in symbolic protest.”
He did this because he rightly “believed that the procedure was illegitimate, and he didn’t want the lawyers to take part in it…”.
The military dictatorship is using a strategy that it thinks effective in silencing dissent. It has singled out this student as an “example” to other dissidents. The threat is: Watch out! If you dissent, you too will be dragged into procedures that have you in jail for years.
There’s nothing legal about this repressive tactic. It is blunt junta manipulation of the law and judiciary to ensure its political domination.