Hunger striker admitted to prison hospital
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Hunger striker admitted to prison hospital

Phitsanulok woman convicted of royal defamation protesting against denial of bail while she appeals

(Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
(Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

A woman convicted of royal defamation has been admitted to the Correctional Hospital with exhaustion on the 10th day of her hunger strike, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).

The 30-year-old woman, identified only as Warunee, began refusing food on Aug 21 to protest against the refusal of the courts to grant her bail while she appeals her sentence.

She consumed only soy milk on the first three days and since then has been taking only water. She has lost four kilogrammes so far, according to TLHR.

The Phitsanulok resident has been held at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution since June 28, when the Criminal Court sentenced her to three years in prison for posting an edited picture on Facebook deemed to have insulted His Majesty the King under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese-majeste law.

The sentence was reduced to one year and six months because the accused confessed. Her lawyers have since made five applications for bail while their client appeals, and all have been rejected. The Court of Appeal has deemed the prisoner a flight risk and said her lawyers’ claim that she suffers from bipolar disorder does not have a bearing on the case.

The offence with which Warunee was charged took place in December 2021. The complaint was filed by Nopadol Prompasit, a member of the Thailand Help Centre for Cyberbullying Victims, which as filed numerous lese-majeste charges against activists including Parit Chiwarak, Anon Nampa and Panusaya Sithijirawattankul.

Another inmate, Weha Saencholchanasuk, has been on a hunger strike at the Bangkok Remand Prison for seven days as an expression of solidarity with Warunee, according to TLHR.

He has been detained since May 18 after the Criminal Court sentenced him to 3 years and 18 months in prison for a Twitter post that violated Section 112. He has also been denied bail.

According to data from TLHR to July 31 this year, 1,918 people have been prosecuted for political participation and expression since the beginning of the Free Youth protests in July 2020. At least 253 are facing lese-majeste charges under Section 112 and 130 have been charged with sedition under Section 116.

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