Two activists on hunger strike refuse granted bail despite deteriorating health

Two activists, who are on a hunger strike in Bangkok, are refusing to leave on bail as their health continues to deteriorate. Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon, who is 21, and 23 year old Orawan “Bam” Phuphong have been on a hunger strike since January 18.

They say they are refusing the granted bail to continue supporting the plight of political prisoners.

Thammasat University Hospital applied for bail on their behalf due to their health being in serious condition. The court granted their release and issued a statement.

“If held in detention the plaintiffs could lose their lives.”

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According to Bangkok Post, they finally agreed to accept supplements on Monday as their conditions worsened.

Their lawyer said a doctor told him that there was a chance the two would not survive the night if nothing were done.

The women are facing lèse majesté charges for taking a public poll last year about the inconveniences of royal motorcades.

Eight other political detainees, which the women are protesting for their release, have not been released from jail.

A third protester, Sitthichok Sethasavet, is also on a hunger strike in the same hospital. But, the Court of Appeal rejected his bail request. He was charged and convicted of lèse majesté and other crimes but he has denied them and is appealing his convictions.

Despite Sitthichok refusing to eat, the court said it saw “no reason to change the original order” regarding his bail.

All three hunger strikers demand the release of all political prisoners and the abolition of the lèse majesté and sedition laws.

Three other protesters’ requests for bail were also denied. The Criminal Court ordered the four remaining protesters’ cases to be investigated. Probation officers have 15 days to submit reports of those four cases.

The eight protesters are from the Thalu Gas protest group with some jailed over charges related to detonating explosives. However, their lawyer says they were mainly in possession of ping-pong bombs and firecrackers.

Sunai Phasuk, a Human Rights Watch researcher said the two women’s lives were “hanging by a thread.”

“It is heart-wrenching to see two young women having to risk it all to demand free speech in Thailand, as well as respect for basic fair trial standards for political detainees such presumption of innocence and right to bail.”

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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