Hunger-striking activist Netiporn taken to hospital

Hunger-striking activist Netiporn taken to hospital

Protester seeking freedom for ‘political’ detainees has gone without food for 11 days

Netiporn Sanesangkhom displays a cut on her arm following a scuffle with officers outside the Bangkok South Criminal Court on Oct 19, 2023. She and others had gone there to show support for another activist sentenced to jail for lese-majeste. (Photo: “Uncle Dr Ketphueak” for Thai Lawyers for Human Rights)
Netiporn Sanesangkhom displays a cut on her arm following a scuffle with officers outside the Bangkok South Criminal Court on Oct 19, 2023. She and others had gone there to show support for another activist sentenced to jail for lese-majeste. (Photo: “Uncle Dr Ketphueak” for Thai Lawyers for Human Rights)

Political activist Netiporn “Bung” Sanesangkhom was taken from prison to the Correctional Hospital on Tuesday, the 11th day of her hunger strike, according to her lawyers.

Netiporn, 28, had symptoms of hepatitis and cystitis, among other conditions, and was too weak to walk, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said on their X account. She has been in the Central Women’s Correctional Institution since Jan 26.

A member of the hard-core Thalu Wang protest group, Netiporn has been refusing food and water, as well as most medication and medical intervention, since the evening of Jan 27. She said she was protesting to call for reform of the justice process and an end to imprisoning people because of political differences.

On Jan 26 she was sentenced to one month in prison for contempt of court in connection with a protest that turned into a scuffle with guards outside the Bangkok South Criminal Court on Oct 19, 2023. She and others had gone there to show support for another activist sentenced to jail for lese-majeste.

Netiporn, who is also facing a charge of lese-majeste under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, had her bail revoked in a separate ruling arising from a protest she staged at the Ministry of Culture on Aug 6, 2023.

TLHR said the court cited witness testimony that Netiporn sprayed paint onto a flag of Her Majesty the Queen. This violated the condition of the bail she was granted after being convicted earlier under Section 112, specifically that she must not repeat her offence.

According to data from TLHR to Dec 31 last year, 1,938 people have been prosecuted for political participation and expression since the beginning of the Free Youth protests in July 2020. At least 262 are facing lese-majeste charges under Section 112 and 138 have been charged with sedition under Section 116. Nine cases under Section 116 came before the courts in December and all were dismissed.

A total of 26 people are now behind bars in connection with political cases that are still making their way through the system, according to TLHR.

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