Teenage lese majeste suspect leaves Thailand detention centre with severe rash
The second youngest person ever accused of committing lese majeste in Thailand, allegedly violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, was released on bail yesterday after a 51-day stay inside a detention centre in Nakhon Pathom province.
The accused, 15 year old Thanalop “Yok” Phalanchai, left Ban Pranee Juvenile Vocational Training Centre for Girls with a severe rash on her back believed to be caused by unsanitary water at the detention centre, exacerbated by hot weather and mosquito bites.
Yok was just 14 years old when she was arrested under suspicion of lese majeste on March 28, the same day a 24 year old man was arrested for spray painting an anti-112 message and anarchy sign on the wall of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
Police arrested Yok following a complaint lodged by a royalist group that she allegedly insulted the monarchy during a rally in Bangkok in October last year.
Pol. Lt. Col. Wanpong Kocharak reported today that Yok started developing the rash shortly after entering Ban Pranee. Initially, nurses at the centre examined the rash and said it looked like a bacterial infection caused by dirty water. She was taken for treatment at Phutthamonthon Hospital in Nakhon Pathom on May 12, reports CH7.
The doctor diagnosed the rash as a bacterial skin infection and prescribed seven days of oral antibiotics to clear it up. The doctor also made an appointment for the young lese majeste suspect to see a dermatologist next week on May 25 to provide further treatment if necessary.
Yok’s rash was itchy and got worse following the appointment. The nurse reassessed her symptoms on May 17 and advised Yok to go back to the doctor. However, she did not go because she was then released on bail yesterday.
The detention centre reported that the centre uses groundwater. There is a water quality monitoring system and water is filtered before use, the centre said.
The centre assured that both staff and children at the centre use the water and that the centre, “takes care of children’s health in accordance with the measures of the Ministry of Public Health.”
Upon her release yesterday, Yok told the media that she had wasted 51 days holed up in the centre and questioned whether she deserved to be incarcerated in subpar conditions.
A 16 year old girl named “May” [pseudonym], another lese majeste suspect, was released on bail by a court in Phistanulok province this week.
Naengnoi Asavakittkorn complained against May in November 2020, accusing her of defaming the King in a Facebook post.
At the time, May was just 14 years and one month old, making her the youngest person ever charged with lese majeste in Thailand, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR).
In the past two years, at least 21 activists under 18 years old have been summoned over royal defamation charges under Section 112.
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