Activists give minister jail 'wish list'

The three detained anti-government protest leaders called on the government to ensure their well-being by granting a number of special requests during a weekend visit by the justice minister.

Access to books and individual cells were on the wish lists of Panupong "Mike" Jadnok, Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak and Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul when they met Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin on Sunday.

They were worried about being unable to study ahead of their exams during the visit in which the minister was pictured in the media sitting with the detainees, though he insisted they did not talk about politics.

Ms Panusaya, who is being held at the Central Women's Correctional Institution, had also had a request for a private cell denied.

As for Mr Parit's requests, he told Mr Somsak that he wanted to read books authored by the late left-wing intellectual Jit Phumisak and that he was concerned that he would not be able to sit his upcoming exams.

During his one-on-one with the minister, Mr Panupong had urged the government to separate prisoners pending trial from convicted criminals, according to the source.

Mr Parit and Mr Panupong are being detained at Bangkok Remand Prison.

Noraset Nanongtoom, a lawyer from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Centre, posted on the group's Facebook that Mr Parit had told him that living conditions in the prison were "tolerable" .

On Saturday, the Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision denying temporary release on bail for the three activists. They were charged with incitement and sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code for their roles in the Sept 19-20 demonstrations at Thammasat University and Sanam Luang.

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Writer: Gary Boyle
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