Apichart Pongsawat

ApichartImmediately following the 22 May 2014 military coup, there were anti-coup demonstrations. The military junta used soldiers to expunge the protests and an unknown number of people were arrested. One of those arrested was Apichart  Pongsawat.

When released from detention for opposing the coup, Apichart was immediately transferred to the police and charged with lese majeste using the draconian Computer Crimes Act.

The 25 year-old Apichart, who is a graduate student at Thammasat University and who also worked for the Law Reform Commission of Thailand, was charged on Friday, 30 May. It is reported that the police say the military provided evidence of the alleged offense said to be derived from the defendant’s Facebook page.

Apichart was taken to Bangkok Remand Prison on Friday after the court denied him bail, citing flight risk. That is standard practice for the royalist flunkies in the courts. This was despite a bail guarantee made by Deputy Dean of Thammasat University Parinya Thewanarumitkul.

Finally, on 24 June, it was reported that Apichart was released from Bangkok Remand Prison after the Criminal Court rejected a police request to keep him in custody. The police told the court that its case was incomplete as “no academics have agreed to give an opinion on whether the suspect’s Facebook posts were lèse majesté.” The police were told to finish the case but Apichart was released.

By 11 September 2015, the police had still not decided whether to charge Apichart with lese majeste.

Media reports of Apichart’s case:

Prachatai, 11 September 2015: “Anti-junta activist vows to fight on amid risk of heavier sentence

Prachatai, 24 June 2014:”Anti-coup detainee-turned-lèse majesté suspect released

AHRC, 1 June 2014: “THAILAND: Junta cracks downs on political freedom and freedom of expression

Prachatai, 31 May 2014: “Thammasat University student charged with lese majeste after detained for anti-coup protest

4 responses

2 06 2014
Junta cracks downs | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Asian Human Rights Commission wishes to express grave concern about the filing of charges against Apichat Pongsawat under Martial Law, the Criminal Code, the 2007 Computer Crimes Act (CCA), and the orders of the […]

6 06 2014
No bail lese majeste | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Apichart Pongsawat’s lese majeste case may have resulted from the coup and the royalist posterior polishing military junta, yet the issues of no bail and political repression using Article 112 have been seen even under elected governments in recent years. Of course, the highest rates of the use of this draconian law were under the military-backed Abhisit Vejjajiva regime. While the use of the law under the Yingluch Shinawatra administration saw a substantial decline in cases, several cases were processed and prosecuted. […]

12 09 2015
Repression for opposition | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Apichart Pongsawat is a brave anti-coup activist who also has lese majeste charges being considered by police and military. […]

12 09 2015
Repression for opposition | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Apichart Pongsawat is a brave anti-coup activist who also has lese majeste charges being considered by police and military. […]