Panitan Prueksakasemsuk, a student who started a 112-hour hunger strike on Saturday in sympathy for his jailed father, was still going strong as he passed his second day without food.
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Panitan Prueksakasemsuk, son of lese majeste suspect Somyot, tries once again to win court support for his father’s bail request. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN
Forsaking food for a cause
Panitan has his head shaved to protest against the court’s repeated rejections of his father’s bail requests. The move was part of his hunger strike at Bangkok’s Criminal Court which passed its second day yesterday. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN
Panitan Prueksakasemsuk, a student who started a 112-hour hunger strike on Saturday in sympathy for his jailed father, is wondering whether he will follow in his father's activist footsteps.
Even as he passed the second day of his hunger strike in protest at the court's refusal to grant his father bail on lese majeste charges, Panitan said he never thought he would find himself protesting as his father has done before him.
''It does not mean I don't like what my father has been doing. Of course, he's doing things for the good of other people,'' Mr Panitan, 20, said yesterday.
''But I never imagined myself in his shoes.''
He had his head shaved Monday to protest against the Criminal Court's decision to deny, for the eighth time, a bail request by his father, lese majeste defendant Somyot Prueksakasemsuk.
Mr Panitan, a law student at Thammasat University, once dreamed of being a prosecutor or a judge.
Now, as a protester languishing in front of the court, he said he is no longer certain if he can hold on to that dream.
''We cannot choose our fathers,'' said Mr Panitan, widely known among his friends and family as ''Tai'' meaning ''freedom''.
Mr Panitan has done well academically. His average grade as a second year student is 84% – one more percentage point and he could receive a bachelor's degree with honours upon graduation.
''I'm not sure if my surname will count against me,'' Mr Panitan said wryly.
His father, Mr Somyot, was a labour activist before he took on a job as publisher of the now-defunct Voice of Thaksin magazine.
He was arrested last April near the Thai-Cambodian border and charged under Section 112 of the Criminal Code over two magazines articles that were deemed critical of the monarchy.
If found guilty, he could be jailed for up to three decades.
Mr Panitan, the elder of Mr Somyot's two children, began the hunger strike on Saturday at 4pm.
He wrote a letter to the court yesterday – his second since he started the hunger strike, and shorter than the first.
''To uphold justice that is dear to all citizens in this country and to minimise the impact on [lese majeste] suspects, including my father and other prisoners on the same charge, may I plead for the mercy of the court to grant bail without prejudice or political reasons.
''Otherwise, I will have to continue this peaceful protest for the sake of their basic rights,'' Mr Panitan wrote.
Asked how he felt after reaching the half-way mark of his hunger strike, which will end on Thursday at 11am – the 112 hours being a symbolic reference to Section 112 of the Criminal Code under which his father was charged – he said he felt numb.
''It is likely to be a long quest for justice for my father and everyone. Their struggle will surely take a long time while the hunger strike and I are but a part of a long and bigger process to strive for justice for all,'' said Mr Panitan, trying to keep his eyes closed to block out the noise and dust around him.
He regards himself as an apprentice political activist.
''I might be walking on the same path [as my father] after all. I don't know. It seems as if society values social and political activists. I might be one,'' the young man said.
lese majeste – the crime of offending, threatening or showing disrespect for a member of the royal family หมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ
suspect – a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
bail – money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money เงินประกัน; การประกันตัว
rejection – when someone refuses to accept, use or believe someone or something การปฏิเสธ
Criminal Court – a court which hears criminal cases, i.e., cases where people are accused of breaking a law and where punishment involves going to jail. ศาลอาญา
forsake – to stop doing something, or leave something, especially something that you enjoy ละทิ้ง, เลิก, ยกเลิก
cause – movement; an aim, idea, or organisation that you support or work for วัตถุประสงค์ อุดมการณ์
hunger strike – the act of refusing to eat for a long period of time in order to protest about something อดอาหาร
sympathy – a natural feeling of kindness and understanding that you have for someone who is experiencing something very unpleasant ความเห็นอกเห็นใจ
wonder – to think about something because you want to know more facts or details about it สงสัย
follow in someone’s footsteps – to do the same job, have the same style of life, etc. as somebody else, especially somebody in your family ดำเนินรอยตาม
activist – someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation นักกิจกรรม
refusal – an act of saying or showing that you will not do, give or accept something คำปฏิเสธ, การปฏิเสธ
grant – to officially give something ให้
imagine – to form a picture of something or someone in your mind นึกคิด, จินตนาการ, นึกฝัน
deny bail – (of a court) to not to allow someone to go free on bail ไม่ให้ประกันตัว
defendant – someone who has been accused of a crime and is on trial จำเลย
prosecutor – a lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty อัยการ
judge – someone whose job is to make decisions in a court of law ตุลาการ, ผู้พิพากษา
languish – to remain in a difficult or unpleasant situation for a long time ทุกข์ทรมานกับ
surname – a name shared by all the members of a family (written last in English names) นามสกุล
wry – showing that you are both amused and disappointed or annoyed
defunct – no longer existing, operating or being used ถูกยุบ, หยุดทำงาน
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries เขตแดน อาณาเขต
Criminal Code – the systems of laws dealing with crimes and their punishment ประมวลกฎหมายอาญา
deemed – considered เห็นว่า ถือว่า
critical – saying that someone or something is bad or wrong ที่ชอบจับผิด
the monarchy – the royal institution (higher institution); the throne; the crown ระบอบประชาธิปไตยอันมีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข
find guilty – to prove in a court of law that someone has committed a crime พิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิด
decade – a period of ten years ทศวรรษ
elder – older ที่อายุมากกว่า
uphold – to defend or keep to a principle or law; to show that you support something by what you say or do รับรอง พิทักษ์รักษา ยืนหนัด
justice – fairness in the way people are dealt with ความเป็นธรรม, ความถูกต้อง, ความยุติธรรม
citizen – someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country พลเมือง
minimise – to reduce something harmful or unpleasant to the smallest amount or degree ลดจำนวนลง
impact – an effect or influence ผลกระทบ
plead – to ask for something in an emotional way ขอร้อง, วิงวอน
mercy – a kind or forgiving attitude towards somebody that you have the power to harm or right to punish ความเมตตา, ความกรุณา
prejudice – an unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially the feeling of not liking a particular groups of people ความมีอคติ
for the sake of – for the benefit or good of someone or something เพื่อ
right – a moral or legal claim to have or get something or to behave in a particular สิทธิ
symbolic – representing something important, but in this case, not the real thing เป็นสัญญาณ เป็นสัญลักษณ์
numb – having no feeling in a part of your body ชา
quest – a long search for something, especially for some quality such as happiness การแสวงหา
struggle – a very difficult task that you can do only by making a great effort ความพยายาม
process – a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
strive – to try very hard to do something or to make something happen, especially for a long time or against difficulties พยายามอย่างหนัก
regard – to consider or have an opinion about something or someone เห็นว่า,ถือว่า
apprentice – a young person who works for an employer for a fixed period of time in order to learn the particular skills needed in their job ผู้ฝึกงาน
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