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News of 28-Year-Old Activists Death in Thailand Goes Global

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News of 28-Year-Old Activist Death in Thailand Goes Global
Netiporn suffered cardiac arrest early Tuesday: File Image

A 28-year-old political activist who went on a hunger strike in Thailand after being imprisoned for promoting monarchy reform died on Tuesday, prompting widespread media coverage. News agencies BBC, New York Times, Reuters and AP have all covered the story.

Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28, also known as ‘Bung Thalu Wang,’ who had been on hunger strike since January 27, died after being taken to Thammasat University Hospital in cardiac arrest this morning, according to the Corrections Department.

Netiporn died at 11:22 a.m., according to the department, and the Justice Minister has ordered the formation of a commission to investigate her death for transparency. Thammasat University Hospital will do an autopsy on her body.”

Krisadang Nutcharat, a lawyer with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, previously told the media that her family received a call from an official at the Corrections Department’s hospital at 6 a.m. today, informing them that Netiporn had fallen unconscious and her heart had stopped beating, prompting medical personnel to perform CPR.

He further stated that he visited Netiporn in the hospital about a week ago and discovered that she had lost approximately 10kg as a result of her hunger strike, and that she complained of a headache, pains throughout her body, and swollen legs.

Political prison in Thailand

Netiporn was detained at Central Women’s Correctional Institution on January 26 after being sentenced to one month in jail for contempt of court. On the same day, the court revoked her bail on a lese majeste accusation for her participation in a protest against a Royal motorcade.

She said that her hunger strike was a plea for judicial reform and the abolition of political prisons in Thailand.

On February 2 of this year, Netiporn made a final will and testament in which she left her belongings to Thanalop Phalanchai, a former political activist from the ‘Thalu Wang’ group. Her bequests include cash and bank deposits, a wrist watch, earrings, and a pet.

Other assets include a title deed, claim rights, and inheritance rights, all of which are left to her elder sister.

On February 8, Netiporn signed another paper indicating her decision to forego medical treatment to extend her life and donate her body to medical science at Thammasat University Hospital.

The Thailand branch of Amnesty International called Netiporn’s murder as “a shocking reminder that Thai authorities are denying activists their right to temporary release on bail and using detention to silence peaceful expressions of dissent.”

“This is a grim day for Thai society, highlighting the severe judicial harassment and the justice system’s failure to recognize basic human rights,” the organization stated. “Speaking out should not result in death; it should encourage change.(asterisk)

lese majeste

Second Hunger Striker Monitored

The popular opposition Move Forward party, which has also advocated for monarchy reform, issued a statement declaring that people should not be imprisoned for their political beliefs and that those accused of political offenses should be allowed bail.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong announced today that he intends to meet political activist Tantawan Tuatulanon, who has been on hunger strike since late January.

Tawee stated that he wants to see Tantawan’s condition firsthand, following the death of incarcerated activist Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28, who died of heart arrest.

Tantawan, who was charged twice with lese majeste in 2022, was arrested again on February 13 and accused of sedition, violating the Computer Crime Act, and inciting a public commotion. Her bail requests have been routinely denied.

Her condition is also believed to be deteriorating as she refuses to terminate her hunger strike.

Until recently, Thailand’s monarchy was widely seen as an untouchable, foundational aspect of Thai identity. Criticism of the monarchy was prohibited, and insulting or defaming prominent royal family members is still punishable by up to 15 years in prison under Thailand’s lese majeste statute, also known as Article 112 of the criminal code.



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