Student activist to sit exams in jail

Student activist to sit exams in jail

A political activist holds photos of Pai Deao Din in a campaign asking for the public to write postcard in a show of his support. Pai will sit his final exams from inside his cell on Tuesday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
A political activist holds photos of Pai Deao Din in a campaign asking for the public to write postcard in a show of his support. Pai will sit his final exams from inside his cell on Tuesday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The request by Jatupat "Pai Dao Din" Boonpattararaksa to leave prison so he could sit his final exams at Khon Kaen University was rejected on Monday but authorities agreed to arrange for him to take the tests behind bars.

The 25-year-old lese majeste suspect and anti-coup activist, who is being detained at the Khon Kaen Correctional Institute, is in his last year of law studies at Khon Kaen University. He is scheduled to sit his final exams for computer skills on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lt Col Pitakpol Choosri, head of the NCPO’s peace-keeping force in Khon Kaen, said police, administrative officials, and representatives from justice and security agencies met with Khon Kaen University personnel in the afternoon. The meeting agreed to hold exams inside the detention facility so that Mr Jatupat could complete his tertiary education.    

Mr Jatupat and his family had been informed of the decision, Lt Col Pitakpol said, adding the arrangement of the exams would be in line with regulatory requirements of all concerned agencies. 

The decision followed the Khon Kaen Provincial Court’s dismissal of a petition lodged on Monday morning by Mr Jatupat’s team of lawyers, who asked it to allow their client to leave the prison temporarily and sit his final exams at Khon Kaen University. 

The court said prison officials had told Mr Jatupat they could not permit him to leave for the exams unless he received the permission from the court.

The court ruled it was not a matter for it to decide and suggested Mr Jatupat’s lawyers discuss it with the provincial correctional Institute where he was held in custody. 

Mr Jatupat was charged with violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, after sharing on Facebook an article on the BBC Thai website about His Majesty the King.

He was later released on a 400,000-baht bail but was taken back into custody on Dec 22 for not deleting the allegedly offensive article from his Facebook page.

The bail request was rejected by the court, which believed Mr Jatupat had no intention of deleting the article. The court also said comments made by Mr Jatupat after being initially released on bail, which implied authorities sought bail money because the economy was bad, showed he did not respect the law.

The court has since rejected his bail requests, numbering five in total including the one on Monday.


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