The death of high-profile lese majeste convict Uncle SMS while in a prison hospital has sparked outcry from local and international human rights organisations over poor medical services for prisoners.
The Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its Thai member organisation, Union for Civil Liberties (UCL), expressed their condolence on the death of Ampon Tangnoppakhun, who was convicted on Nov 23 and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for sending four text messages deemed offensive to the Queen of Thailand to a personal assistant of then prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in 2010 in violation of Article 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer-related Crimes Act of 2007.
The conditions at Thai detention centres, their statement said, fall far short of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the medical services provided are often primitive. The premature death of a prisoner in fragile health must be independently and credibly investigated, and the findings of the autopsy that has reportedly been performed should be published promptly.
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