Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Weekly Briefing: 16 - 22 January 2017

Update: Student activist Jatupat’s detention for sharing BBC article about king’s profile

  • Jatupat misses his final exams  
A day before the exams, Jatupat has been informed by the Rights and Liberties Protection Department - the department of the Justice Ministry for his final exams in prison.

In the statement, he will not be allowed to sit his final exams for Computer Skill on Jan 17-18 unless the Khon Karen court gives the permission for temporary release.

Finally, he missed final examination becuase the court rejected a bail request which filed by Jatupat’s legal team for his temporarily release to sit for it at Khon Kaen University . He will be unable to graduate this year and risks invalidating seven years invested in his law degree.

Later, Asst. Prof. Khitibodee Yaibool, Dean of Khon Kaen University’s Law Faculty, announced that currently the university has no plans to facilitate examinations in Khon Kaen Prison for Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa
  • HCHR urges THai government to review lese majeste cases
The office of the HCHR has responded to a complaint made by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) on Jan 6 regarding the arrest of Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, or Pai Dao Din, on Dec 2 last year and the revocation of his bail on Dec 22 by the court.

According to the letter sent to the TLHR, The UN human rights unit expressed concern over the prosecution of Mr Jatupat on a lese majeste offence for exercising his right to freedom of expression and opinion, the military's role in the investigation of the case and the revocation of his bail based on his comments against the government. The OHCHR urged the government to review cases, including Jatupat's, in which suspects have been charged under Section 112 of the Criminal Code known as the lese majeste law.
  • Fifth bail requests turned down in a secret hearing.
On 20 January 2017, Jatupat was denied bail again and the hearing on his bail application was held in secret. When the court informed the activist that the hearing would be held in secret, Jatuphat objected to the court procedures, adding he does not need a lawyer and will not sign any documents.

This is the fifth time the court has granted custody permission to detain Jatuphat. He will be detained in Khon Kaen Prison for 12 more days with the possibility of police custody being renewed.
Under the law, suspects can be remanded to custody for seven consecutive sessions lasting a total 84 days.

Update: The change of the draft constitution at king’s request

Thailand's junta chief said that he would begin amending the country's draft constitution after the new king requested changes to provisions relating to royal powers by a special panel.

Maha Vajiralongkorn, crown prince of Thailand, attends a ceremony in Sanam Luang park in May 9, 2016

The panel includes legal experts such as chairmen of the previous Constitution Drafting Committee and the current Constitution Drafting Commission, Borwornsak Uwanno and Meechai Ruchupan, as well as the president of the National Legislative Assembly, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, and Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.

The Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary had said the draft charter needed amendment specifying that it did not necessarily require designation of a regent when the King was outside the Kingdom or unable to perform his royal duties for any reason.

Yingluck’s supporters fined for staring at prosecutors

Judges of the Supreme Court ruled to fine ML Mingmongkhon Sophonkul, an aristocartic director and writer, and Tas Wanpharuehat 500 baht each.
Picture by MThai
The two were accused of intimidating public prosecutors and causing disorder at the courthouse on 7 October 2016. The pair had been attending the hearing on cases of corruption against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra related to the implementation of her government’s rice pledging scheme.
The public prosecutors filed a case against the two, saying that both attempted to intimidate them by staring during the break of the trial.
ML Mingmongkol "Taona" Sonakul is a former script writer and film director, and the other a man, That Wanparuehat is a former secretary of a subcommittee on religious affairs of the House of Representatives.

Police intimidate the family of anti-monarchist British journalist
Noppawan Bunluesilp arrives at a police station in Bangkok with her three-year-old son. Photograph: EPA
On 18 January 2017, Ruedieewan Lathip, the mother-in-law of Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a British journalist accused of lèse majesté, told BBC Thai that two policewomen in plainclothes visited her house to look for her daughter, Noppawan "Ploy" Bunluesilp.
Marshall wrote on his Facebook account,
“I'm terribly sad and angry to hear from Ploy, the mother of my son Charlie, that three plainclothes Thai police arrived at her family's house in Bangkok again today to make threats to them as result of my journalism about Thailand. They harassed and threatened Charlie's grandmother, who was there alone at the time.”
and on his twitter account. 
Last year, Noppawan Bunluesilp, the Thai wife of a British journalist has been detained by police after her husband, an anti-monarchist, shared unflattering pictures of the country’s crown prince on social media and wrote about the royal succession. She was released about eight hours later. 

Malaysia releases 12 Thai women witnesses in a human trafficking case
The first batch of 12 Thai women detained in Malaysia as witnesses in a human trafficking case since last September have been released and returned to Thailand 
The women whose identities were not disclosed were escorted by Malaysian officials to the Thai customs checkpoint in Sadao district of Songkhla and handed over to Thai officials led by Rear Admiral Somkiart Pholprayoon, deputy secretary-general of Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre.
The rear admiral told the Press that the centre learned about the arrest of 21 Thai women who went to Malaysia to work on November 5 and was instructed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha to coordinate with the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur to visit the women and to try to secure their release.

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