Lese majeste detainee gets human rights award

Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa has been awarded South Korea’s prestigious 2017 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

Jatuphat or Pai is held in jail without bail for sharing a BBC Thai story that accurately reported on Thailand’s tenth Chakri king, a report that was shared by thousands of others and has been viewed by millions. In other words, Jatuphat is singled out and framed by the junta because he is an activist.

The selection committee of the May 18 Memorial Foundation announced the award to the jailed law student and member of the New Democracy Movement for his “brave and noble actions against dictatorship and violations on human rights…”.

The letter to Pai further stated: “We also noticed that your struggles have aroused attention about political conditions and the importance of their improvement among your citizens, especially among the young and have contributed to bringing democracy to Thailand…”.

He was nominated by Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies.

The award ceremony will be held on 18 May in Gwangju, South Korea, and it is certain that Pai will sit it out in a junta dungeon in Khon Kaen, where he awaits what will be an unfair and secretive trial as the “first person to be arrested for lèse majesté under the reign of the new [k]ing.”

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