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Ratchaburi referendum verdict not a good sign for freedom of expression in Thailand

Sarayut Tangprasert On 29 January 2018, the Ratchaburi Provincial Court acquitted Prachatai journalist Taweesak Kerdpoka and the other four activists from the New Democracy Movement. They were accused of distributing stickers to persuade people to reject the junta’s constitution in the 2016 referendum. The only evidence was Vote No stickers found in the car. The Prachatai journalist was arrested and faced the same charge under the Referendum Act merely for sharing the same car as the activists. The Court found the defendants not guilty, reasoning that there was insufficient evidence that the defendants had distributed the stickers.    After the verdict, many people congratulated Prachatai and said that the fact that the court dismissed the case is a victory of the pro-democracy movement. Some even said the case should be used as a standard for other cases related to the anti-charter campaign. I however disagree for the following reasons. ...

 

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