Protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak has been admitted to Ramathibodi Hospital for treatment of deteriorating health from a hunger strike that has reached 46 days.
His hospitalisation came a day after Corrections Department officials rebutted online rumours about Mr Parit's health, saying he and fellow hunger striker Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul were not in danger.
Department spokesman Thawatchai Chaiwat said on Friday that the student activist was transferred from Bangkok Remand Prison for treatment amid signs that his body was struggling to recover.
His weight has dropped to 94.5 kilogrammes from 107kg and his body was showing signs of absorbing less mineral salt water.
Doctors and nurses at the department hospital removed the saline drip from his body after he felt pain and agreed to send him to the hospital out of concern that he could go into shock, said Mr Thawatchai, who is also the department’s deputy director-general.
He will be sent back to prison from Ramathibodi for treatment at the corrections hospital after his condition improves, the spokesman added.
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), quoting prison officials, said on Twitter that while in hospital Mr Parit would be given parenteral nutrition and have an endoscopy, as there was blood in his stool.
Mr Parit began his hunger strike on March 16, demanding that all people accused of royal insult and other charges be allowed bail. He has been in detention for 52 days while awaiting trial on numerous charges, including lese majeste, linked to an anti-government rally at Sanam Luang last September. He and six colleagues have been denied bail nine times, with the most recent refusal coming on Thursday.
The other detainees besides Mr Parit and Ms Panusaya are Panupong Jadnok, Chaiamorn Wibulkaew, Arnon Nampa, Chukiat Saengwong and Parinya Cheewinkulpahtom.
Mr Parit’s lawyer filed another bail application on Friday and the court said it would make a decision this coming Thursday, TLHR said.
Sureerat Chiwarak, the activist’s mother, had her head shaved outside the Criminal Court to draw attention to her son’s plight.
“Please be a witness to this. I am just a woman, a mother. My child has not committed a crime, he just thinks differently. He has not received justice, and he is now gravely ill,” she told a small group of demonstrators outside the court.