The parents of activist Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa submitted a letter to the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Tuesday requesting that the Thai ambassador to South Korea issue a formal apology and correct what they alleged were “deviations from the truth” in connection with the lese-majeste and computer-crime accusations made against their son.
Wiboon and Prim Boonpatararaksa threatened to take legal action against all relevant persons should the ministry and the ambassador fail to do what they had requested.
Their letter was a reaction to the letter dated May 2 from the Kingdom’s ambassador in Seoul, Sarun Charoensuwan, to the chairman of the May 18 Memorial Foundation, which granted the 2017 “Gwangju Prize for Human Rights” to Pai.
The controversial letter signed by the ambassador, Pai’s parents said, contained content that deviated from the truth, which could result in misunderstanding, insult and hatred towards the young activist.
Firstly, the couple clarified in the letter that their son remained innocent of the accusations made against him as the court had not yet reached a final verdict in the case.
Secondly, they said Pai had not committed actions in violation of his bail conditions as stated in the ambassador’s letter.
These two points were in addition to the ambassador’s claim in his letter that Thailand was supportive of the freedom of expression and political gatherings, when in reality the government prohibited political assembly, Pai's parents wrote. The UN and other international organisations had issued statements a number of times expressing concern of human rights infringement, they added.
“To protect Pai’s dignity and reputation”, they requested a formal apology and correction of information that they claimed deviated from the truth, or they would exercise their legal rights against relevant persons on behalf of their son.
Pai, also known as Pai Dao Din, remains in prison as his bail requests have been rejected on nine occasions.
He is charged with violating the lese-majeste law and the Computer Crime Act after sharing a BBC Thai article last December.
Nukun Srisophon, director of the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s General Affairs Division, said briefly as she accepted the letter on behalf of the ministry that it would be passed on to relevant units.
Pai’s family will receive the “Gwangju Prize for Human Rights” award on his behalf in South Korea this Thursday.