KHON KAEN – Jailed student activist Jatupat Boonpattararaksa continues to receive support from academics, activists, artists and foreign diplomats. Last Friday, filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul visited the activist who has been jailed since December for sharing an article online.
On August 10, Mr. Apichatpong, an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, paid Mr. Jatupat, known as “Pai Dao Din,” a visit at the Khon Kaen Special Correctional Institution.
After his visit, Mr. Apichatpong remarked that society and the media often tended to disconnect people from reality. “They prevent us from seeing some aspects of reality,” he said.
“I visited Pai to remind myself that this is the reality. And it serves as a reminder of how comfortable I am [compared to Pai],” he told The Isaan Record.
In December last year, Mr. Jatupat was arrested for sharing a biography of the new king published by BBC Thai on social media. In February, a court in Khon Kaen indicted him on charges of Article 112 on royal defamation and violation of the Computer Crimes Act.
The 26-year-old activist has been refused bail ten times. He was unable to personally accept the 2017 Gwangju Prize for Human Rights in South Korea in July.
This month, the Khon Kaen Provincial Court is hearing Mr. Jatupat’s case in secret. The prosecution’s first witnesses testified on August 2 and 3. As the trial is in secret, only Mr. Jatupat’s parents are allowed to attend the proceedings, and they are forbidden from speaking to the press.
Since his arrest, he has received visits from various activists, academics and foreign diplomats. Last month, activists from Thailand and five foreign countries came to see Mr. Jatupat in jail and campaigned for his release.
Mr. Jatupat is a law student at Khon Kaen University and a member of the “Dao Din” activist group. After the 2014 coup, he became a prominent anti-coup activist, and joined ranks with the New Democracy Movement.
Mr. Apichatpong was raised in Khon Kaen City, and his hometown is featured in his latest film Cemetery of Splendour (in Thai, Rak Thi Khon Kaen). His filmography includes Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady, and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which won him the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.