Court turns down bail for activists on hunger strike

Court turns down bail for activists on hunger strike

Tantawan Tuatulanon
Tantawan Tuatulanon

The Criminal Court has denied bail requests for activist Tantawan Tuatulanon and her friend, saying the health of both detainees — who are now on a hunger strike — is being closely monitored by a medical team.

The 22-year-old activist, along with 23-year-old Natthanon “Frank” Chaimahabut, is in police custody while receiving hospital treatment.

They have been charged relating to their protest during a royal motorcade procession in Bangkok on Feb 4. In total, they face five charges, including sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code, violating the Computer Crimes Act and the Traffic Act, as well as insulting officers on duty.

The bail requests were submitted by Ms Tantawan’s father, Sommai Tuatulanon, on Saturday. At the hearing on Sunday, he begged the court to approve bail for his daughter, saying Ms Tantawan and Mr Natthanon’s health have seriously deteriorated since they were taken into custody on Feb 13.

The court said Ms Tantawan and Mr Natthanon did not meet the requirements for bail that were outlined in their warrants, adding the current circumstances do not justify their immediate release.

According to experts at Thammasat University Hospital, Ms Tantawan is malnourished and her mineral levels are low. However, she has continued to reject all treatment since she was admitted on Feb 22. Mr Natthanon, meanwhile, has been hospitalised at the Medical Correctional Hospital for stomach pains and fatigue since Feb 16.

Meanwhile, Sonthiya Sawasdee, former adviser to the House committee on legal affairs, submitted the petition against both activists’ bail on Sunday. He said that despite being a father himself, he wanted Mr Sommai to respect the court’s decision, saying the activists have to respect the three nation’s three pillars — nation, religion, and monarchy — for the rest of their lives.

When asked to comment on the petition, Mr Sommai said he had nothing to add as the decision is in the court’s hands, not anyone else’s.

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