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Activist Penguin transferred to hospital due to hunger strike



PHOTO: Pro-democracy protest leader Parit Chiwarak, aka "Penguin" via Facebook

On the 46th day of his hunger strike in jail, activist student Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak has been checked into Ramathibodi Hospital to treat his weakening body. He was transferred from Bangkok Remand Prison after signs that his body was having trouble recovering from the food deprivation. After dropping 12.5 kilogrammes from 107 to 94.5 kg due to his hunger strike, officials feared his body was not absorbing enough mineral saltwater.

Fearing he could go into shock, doctors removed his saline drip and transferred him to the hospital. When his condition improves, he will be transferred back to his prison sentence.

Rumours circulated yesterday about Penguin and fellow jailed protester Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, also on a hunger strike, and Corrections Department officials dispelled them saying the student activists were not in danger. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights released a statement on Twitter saying prison staff said blood was found in Penguin’s stool, so he will receive parenteral nutrition and an endoscopy in the hospital.

Penguin and Rung have been held with 6 other student protestors for 52 days, and Penguin began the hunger strike that has now landed him in the hospital on March 16th in protest of the prisoners being denied bail. They had requested and been denied bail for a ninth time yesterday. His lawyer has filed a tenth request today, and the court is expected to respond on Thursday.

Penguin’s grief-stricken mother is protesting as well, begging for attention to her son’s plight outside the court. A small gathering of protesters supported her as she called for justice for her son that she said committed no crime. To further call attention to the situation, she shaved her head outside the Criminal Court.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Dynamo Dave

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    If ‘Penguin’ croaks, I can see one big reaction from his widely-supporting public. The Courts had better prepare for some explaining re their refusal to grant him bail. Did they, for a minute, believe that he’d try to flit the country, when the world and his dog know that Parit is too dedicated to his reform missions for that to happen. I’ll warrant that the court were instructed by ‘him up there’ to keep his trouble-maker under wraps. Let’s hope Parit pulls through, for the Bangkok streets’ sake.

  2. Sharingiscaring

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 1:32 am

    It would be tragic if he died but maybe this is what the thai people need for them to want to take back their country. They work the fields and run the businesses, they work in govt here, servicing the needs of thais, well they’re supposed to, granted they at least show up to work every day.

    People who only take and don’t produce real goods or services should in theory only live a very very basic life style out in the rice paddies in a tin roof hut hours away from two services.

    With out actually saying it, here’s what I want to say. This doesn’t have to be all or nothing, there ARE reforms that could be made that benefit the thai people. Just can’t be greedy. There’s enough to go around for everyone…. this is what irks me about wall street and US govt. But I digress.

  3. ynwaps

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 1:34 am

    A diet is not a hunger strike

  4. John Shepherd

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 2:35 am

    I also recently conducted a 46 day hunger strike in protest against corporate corruption in the global hotel industry (in Thailand and internationally) stemming from an illegal hotel owned by the Thai King, leased by Minor International and operated by Marriott International. In actual fact, the corruption works in such a way that the corporations were committing lese majeste themselves. This can be proved. Confronting the Thai government, they admitted that this was the case but refused to do anything about it. I sincerely wish Parit Chiwarak the best of luck. I know exactly how he feels physically. All I say to him is what was to said to me on day 46 of my hunger strike – “you are more of a threat alive than dead”. You are brave Parit; be even braver by continuing the fight alive

  5. Harvey

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Political prisoners…always a sign of a healthy democracy.

  6. Mister Stretch

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 8:51 am

    @ynwaps – I was astounded by the lack of humanity in your comment.

    The government is getting ready to create a martyr here if the Penguin dies, and he seems resolved since he has made it this far.

    This won’t be like before when students were shot in the street. This is a new age, one of social media and quick decisions by its consumers.

    Neither the government, nor the court, seems to have posited a reasonable cause for denying bail. That and the charge of endangering the queen just for being on the same road she was, is not going to go over well with those that want government reform. The Penguin’s death will highlight both of these issues.

    It will be a catalyst and a rallying cry and I believe many people ‘on the fence’, will add their voice to protests.

  7. Slugger

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 9:39 am

    @ynwaps Absolutely. I have gone from 89kg to 74kg this year and no-one is looking up my fundament to see the problem. He should be more respectful. Stretch – he’s not dead, just a tad more streamlined.

  8. Ynwaps

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 10:40 am

    I don’t approve of putting him into prison but I also don’t see Thais on the street. I hope what you say comes true..

  9. Gosport

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 11:10 am

    @ynwaps – Agreed, wish him out fit and healthy. Just getting rid of extra taf, the young opposition party leaders followers will flock to you.

  10. Mason33

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    This could be a very long hunger strike.

  11. keshava

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 7:24 am

    He could miss a few meals

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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