Amnesty International calls for Thailand to limit ‘unnecessary detention’ to reduce Covid-19 at prisons

Bangkok Remand Prison / Google

Human rights activists are calling on the Thai government to reduce unnecessary detention to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at prisons. So far, more than 2,000 inmates at 2 Bangkok prisons and at least 7 political prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19.

Amnesty International Thailand addressed an open letter to the Justice Ministry says the move to stop placing suspects in court detention while they await trial will help ease congestion in the prisons and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Yesterday, the Department of Corrections released a statement on the outbreak among inmates at Bangkok Remand Prison and the Women’s Correctional Institution after pro-democracy movement leader Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul announced that she tested positive for Covid-19.

Rung was released from the Women’s Correctional Institution last week after serving 8 weeks in detention while she awaited a trial on lèse majesté charges. Amnesty International says at least 7 political prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19. Some have already been released on bail.

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Some protest leaders have been in court detention, many awaiting trials for lèse majesté charges, which carries a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison for insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy. Some also face sedition charges. Last month, the Human Rights Watch called on Thai authorities to release the detained activists on bail. Since then, some protest leaders, including Rung, have been released on bail.


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Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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