'Rung' disallowed request to be moved to single cell

'Rung' disallowed request to be moved to single cell

Student protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul gives a three-finger salute during the  anti-government rally at Sanam Luang, Bangkok, on Sept 20. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Student protest leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul gives a three-finger salute during the anti-government rally at Sanam Luang, Bangkok, on Sept 20. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, a core protest leader detained at the Central Women's Correctional Institution, told Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin she wanted a single cell, but the request was turned down, according to a Corrections Department source.

Mr Somsak on Sunday inspected the Bangkok Remand Prison and the women's prison, both  in Chatuchak district, after protesters rallied outside the facilities on Saturday night, demanding the release of protest leaders in detention.

During the visit, he talked with Panusaya at the women's prison and Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak and Panupong "Mike" Jadnok at the remand prison.

The sources said Mr Somsak learned that Ms Panusya had a good understanding of the prison regualtions requiring her to wear prison clothes and dye her hair natural black. She previously had brownish, blonded hair.

Ms Panusaya, a student at Thammasat University, expressed concern about her studies, but showed willingness to temporarily suspend classes if necessary. She asked Mr Somsak to visit her again, the source said.

She also asked to be moved to a single cell. However, prison officials accompanying the minister told her that was against regulations.

Mr Parit, also a Thammasat University student, had told Mr Somsak he wanted books written by the late Chit Phumisak, a renowned philologist, historian, poet and song writer, and some other books by other authors.

He said he wanted to finish his studies and worried he would not be able to sit an exam, the source said.

Mr Parit said had no problems with life in prison but wondered why there was no video conference with the court after his detention period had expired. Prison officials told him the police had sought an extension of his detention.

Mr Panupong told Mr Somsak he wanted detainees awaiting court trial to be held separately from convicted prisoners.

Noraseth Nanongtoom, of Lawyers for Human Rights, posted on his Facebook page that he had talked to Mr Parit through the prison intercom. 

He said Mr Parit told him he could adjust to life in prison and that he was given due respect by other inmates. Mr Parit said he had noticed many problems in the prison, including the  feudalistic culture and discrepancies in the education of inmates.

Mr Parit also asked him about the protests being held outside the prison, Mr Noraseth said.

On Monday, the Criminal Court rejected a fresh application by lawyers for bail for the three activists. The court said there was no reason to change the previous decision denying  their release because of concerns they would repeat the alleged offences.

They were charged with sedition and other related offences in connection with the Sept 19-20 anti-government demonstrations at Thammasat University and Sanam Luang.

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