Royal arsonist goes on hunger strike

The delivery rider was convicted of burning a portrait the King and Queen

The royal arsonist convicted of setting fire to a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida has gone on a hunger strike while awaiting an appeal.

Food delivery rider Sitthichok Sethasavet was found guilty of defaming the royal family, arson, destruction of property, and violation of the Emergency Decree. He was sentenced to two years and four months in prison. Sitthichok was found to have set fire to a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida at a royal ceremonial arch in Bangkok during a protest on July 18, 2021.

Sitthichok claimed he was passing through the protest on Ratchadamnoen Nok to deliver an order when he saw the fire at the royal arch. Since he has experience volunteering in an emergency rescue unit, he tried to put out the fire using a bottle of water mixed with purple grape-flavoured soda that he carried on his motorcycle to drink while working during the day.

After he was sentenced, his lawyer’s request for bail pending an appeal was denied by the Appeal Court.

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Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that Sitthichok’s lawyer learned during a visit that he has been on a hunger strike since his first day in prison, drinking only milk.

His lawyer said that he seemed normal during the visit, but has lost 4 kilograms and has low blood sugar. The prison warden is pressuring him to end his protest.

Sitthichok told his lawyer that he felt that it was unfair and unreasonable for him to be detained. The royal arsonist said…

“I wanted to protest against the court for the injustice that they have perpetrated against political prisoners. We are the only ones being accused, and we are denied bail.

“If I have to die to expose the court’s injustice, it’s still more honourable than staying in here.”

Sitthichok is one of 16 people currently detained pending trial or appeal on charges relating to the pro-democracy movement, eight on royal defamation charges.

Bangkok NewsPolitics NewsThailand Protest News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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