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Thai Activists’ Hunger Strike Raises Concern For Their Lives

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Thai activists on hunger strike raise concern

(CTN NEWS) – BANGKOK – Concerns for the two Thai women on a hunger strike demanding political and judicial reforms increased on Monday after the hospital where they are being held urgently called the parents of the two women.

Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon, 21, and Orawan “Bam” Phuphong, 23, have been on a hunger strike since January 18 in support of their demands for justice system reform, the release of political prisoners pending tria.

And for lawmakers to amend or repeal laws used to persecute political dissidents. For much of that time, they have also refused water.

According to their attorney, Krisadang Nutcharas, they are ill and in danger of dying.

Thai activists on hunger strike 1

Tantawan Tuatulanon (right) and Orawan Phuphong prepare to make a court appearance at which they requested revocation of their bail as a gesture of support for other political detainees, on Jan 16.

At the Thammasat University Hospital in a northern district of Bangkok, Thailand‘s capital, Krisadang stated, “Their parents didn’t sleep last night, and they have been here since morning.”

“This is not a drama written to elicit pity from the audience.”

A few days ago, the two women decided to start drinking again. If continued for an extended period, refusing all liquids in addition to food might result in severe harm and even death.

The lese majeste statute, which carries a prison penalty of three to 15 years for insulting the monarchy, has been violated by at least 228 persons, including 18 juveniles.

The statute, sometimes known as Article 112, is frequently used, according to critics, as a weapon to suppress political dissent. Beginning in 2020, student-led pro-democracy demonstrations openly challenged the monarchy, which was previously prohibited.

This prompted stern legal action, which was previously very occasionally taken.

Thai activists on hunger strike 2

A food delivery driver named Sitthichok Sethasavet, who was found guilty of lese majeste in January is also detained at the same hospital and is participating in a hunger strike.

For running public surveys on whether people found royal motorcades bothersome—which can result in road closures and excessive traffic—Tantawan and Orawan were charged with lese majeste. They are also accused of sedition and defying the law, among other offenses.

The two ladies had been released on bond but stated earlier this month that they were rescinding their release and going back to jail in support of others who are being jailed pending trial on the same charge.

And who they want to be set free, claiming that this is the main issue.

On Monday, Krisadang said that he had reapplied for the release on bail of eight more activists from the same organisation who had been held while awaiting trial after being charged with breaching the law while participating in political protests.

Previous applications have been denied on several occasions.

According to a statement released on Sunday by Thammasat University Hospital, the two young women’s conditions are getting worse as they continue to refuse food and medical attention and are only drinking water.

Thai activists on hunger strike

Political activists Orawan Phuphong, left, and Tatawan Tuatulanon raise a three-finger salute, a symbol of resistance, in protest outside at Criminal Court in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.(Ratsadon News via AP)

In addition to weariness, low blood sugar, stomach problems, and trouble sleeping, Tantawan is bleeding through her gums, according to the statement. Her body also lacks electrolytes, and her blood is getting more acidic.

It stated that in addition to a blood clotting disease, tired legs, and nausea, Orawan is dealing with comparable conditions.

Opposition political parties have demanded the inmates’ release, but sympathisers have also pleaded with the women to save themselves.

Popular opposition figure Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit stated in a video message put on a “Return Lives, Return the Right to Bail” Facebook page on Sunday:

“I sincerely think that no one should have to sacrifice their lives to seek for basic democratic rights in a modern democratic society, which includes the right to equitable treatment in the court system and the right to bail.”

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