Lifesaver for ages 9 and up -- Thailand: Free a student in prison for sharing an article on Facebook
Student Jatupat Boonpattararaksa is in prison for making posts on his Facebook. © Facebook
Jatupat is a university student in Thailand.
On December 1, Jatupat was looking at the BBC website. (The BBC is a respected international source for news.) He saw an article there about Thailand’s new king. The article describes some things about the king that would offend him. Still, Jatupat decided to post it on his Facebook page.
The government did not like Jatupat spreading any critical comments about the new king. They arrested him on December 3 and charged him with sharing the BBC news article on his Facebook page. In fact, they call his action “a computer crime”.
The next day, the government released Jatupat. But they soon changed their
minds about his release. On December 22, they put him back in jail.
Today, Jatupat is in Khon Kaen Central Prison in northeastern Thailand. He is waiting for his trial which will tell him how long he will be in prison. The maximum sentence is 15 years just for sharing the BBC article on Facebook.
Jatupat should not have been charged with any crime. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has the right to say what they think and to give and receive information.
Jatupat used a peaceful way to share his opinion. It is not right that he is in prison. Please support Jatupat’s right to express himself. Ask Thailand’s Minister of Justice to release him.
Above: The marker shows the prison where Jatupat is currently held.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Please write to Thailand’s Minister of Justice.
Start with Dear Minister.
- In your first sentence, tell him something about yourself. This will make your message personal and different from all the others he gets.
- Then explain your concern for Jatupat Boonpattararaksa’s unfair imprisonment.
- In your own words, ask the Minister to release Jatupat and to respect everyone’s right to freedom of expression, including online.
WHERE DO I SEND MY MESSAGE?
Ministry of Justice
Government Centre Building A
120 Moo 3
Bangkok 10210, Thailand
Fax: 011 66 2953 0503
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
Most governments care about what people in other countries think about them. That is why writing letters to them has been so successful in stopping human rights violations. You can send a copy of your letter to Thailand’s ambassador in Canada. This will let him know that Canadian youth care about human rights in Thailand.
His Excellency Vijavat Isarabhakdi
Ambassador, The Royal Thai Embassy
180 Island Park Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 0A2
Fax: (613) 722-6624
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