POLICE in Thailand rearrested a pro-democracy activist after his bail was revoked in a case accusing him of sharing online a Thai-language BBC story about the country’s new king.
The court in Khon Kaen province revoked the BHT400,000 (US$11,100) bail Thursday after police reported that Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa was still using social media in ways that taunted officials and could complicate his case.
According to local media outlet, The Nation, Jatupat was rearrested after the provincial court ruled he had broken an agreement to not “get involved in drugs, tamper with evidence or cause damage after being released on bail.”
The authorities also said the activist had yet to remove the controversial article from his Facebook page.
The petition filed by an investigator from Khon Kaen Police Station said Jatupat used social media to incite the public and was likely to disrupt evidence if left unattended, The Nation reported.
Jatupat, the petition added, had also a history of breaking the country’s lese majeste laws and a record of violating national security.
His arrest was the first under the country’s tough lese majeste law since King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun ascended the throne on Dec. 1 after his father’s death in October.
Lese majeste, or insulting the monarchy, carries a penalty of three to 15 years in prison.
A lawyer representing the activist, Teerapan Pankeeree, was quoted as saying that while in the earlier detention, the activist took to social media to merely complain about the large sum required to secure his bail.
“He said this amount could have been used to bail out three of his fellow activists who were arrested ahead of the referendum period,” Teerapan said. “But the bail was not approved.”
The lawyer had also made a request in court for Jatupat to be released on bail, arguing that the activist has only expressed an opinion without disrupting any evidence.
Jatupat’s detention, the lawyer said, would prevent him from sitting for his university exam next month.
Although the court turned down the lawyer’s request, citing it had no reason to grant Jatupat’s bail, his legal team will file an appeal at the Appeal Court Region VI today, the Nation reported.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press