Detention threatens lèse majesté suspect’s education

The mother of a jailed anti-junta activist has begged his university not to expel her son after a court refused to release him to take his final exams. 
On 12 January 2016, Prim Boonpattaraksa submitted a petition to Khon Kaen University asking for her son, Jatuphat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa, to retain his student status.
Jatuphat risks expulsion from Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Law since his incarceration means he is likely to miss his final exams on 17 January. Prim’s petition says that her son is about to graduate.
Jatuphat, a key member of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), was the first person charged with lèse majesté under the reign of King Vajiralongkorn. He was accused of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code for sharing on his Facebook account a controversial biography of the King published by BBC Thai.
The embattled activist would be able to sit his exams had the Khon Kaen Provincial Court not revoked his bail on 22 December, after he posted a Facebook message poking fun at the authorities.  
Binla Sankalakiri, an award-winning author who recently visited Jatuphat in jail, told Prachatai about the activist’s courageous, though waning, optimism — the activist smiled upon seeing Binla, but looked noticeably wary.
“We didn’t get to chat about much, partly because I don’t know what to say, which was extremely saddening. Facing me, he tried not to show much emotion. He asked about both good and bad news. But he could not say much. I’m not sure if he was wary of being wiretapped,” said Binla.
“Pai is someone honest about his own emotions. He analyses his experiences. He voices beliefs that conflict with mainstream society. He is brave to voice these beliefs, and to do what he believes is right.”
The Facebook message leading to Jatuphat’s bail revocation merely read, “Economy is poor but they (authorities) took my money for bail.”
Jatuphat currently faces several charges for organising and participating in anti-junta activities.


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