Activist leader Panupong Jadnok, or Mike, has tested positive for Covid-19 while remaining in jail after the Criminal Court has denied his requests for bail. The news, according to Noraset Nanongtoom, his lawyer, is that now Panupong will ask the Criminal Court to consider a bail request by video conference. If granted, he would be released and able to be admitted to a hospital for Covid-19 treatment.
24 year old Panupong, has been imprisoned since March 8, pending trial on charges related to a pro-democracy rally in Bangkok on September 19-20 of last year. Noraset says he is worried because his client has suffered from asthma for almost 7 years, which indicates he has a pre-existing condition presently with Covid. Thailand’s Department of Corrections announced that thousands of inmates in Bangkok prisons have tested positive for Covid-19. 1,795 inmates at Bangkok Remand Prison are infected, along with 1,040 at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution. At least 8 political prisoners have also tested positive for the virus.
The announcement, over Covid’s presence in prisons, comes after political activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, aka, “Rung”, tested positive for Covid-19 shortly after her release on bail. According to a Coconuts report, she is the eighth activist known to have become infected in prison. She says she knows of at least 50 other infected inmates. The news has prompted Amnesty International to call on the Thai government to reduce unnecessary detentions to prevent the spread of the virus at prisons.
Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, who staged a 57 day hunger strike, was recently released on May 11, after being denied bail 10 times. The high-profile student activist leader that has been jailed for months, but recently was taken to a hospital for closer monitoring as his condition was reported to be deteriorating. Another student protester, singer Chaiamorn “Ammy the Bottom Blues” Kaewwiboonpan, was also released on the same day. Both activists were being held without bail in Bangkok Remand Prison, charged under Thailand’s strict lèse majesté laws that prohibit anyone from speaking out against the royal family.
As a condition of their bail and release, the activists are barred from taking part in any activities including protesting, organising or giving speeches, that are in any way against Thailand’s royalty. They were made to pledge to respect and not to dishonour the monarchy as a condition of their release. The activist leaders will have to follow a schedule of reporting to the court and are not permitted to leave the country without prior permission.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post