Critical condition: Thai activist’s battle against stomach tumour prompts urgent hospital transfer

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post.

Thai political activist Ekachai Hongkangwan remains in a critical condition due to a stomach tumour, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights. The lawyers requested the Department of Corrections to urgently transfer Ekachai to Thammasat University Hospital for treatment. The tumour, as revealed by tests, measures 11 centimetres in length and 8cm in width.

The 48 year old Thai activist was initially admitted to the Central Correctional Hospital on Friday, September 8, presenting symptoms of jaundice among others. Doctors conducting a series of tests discovered a substantial lump on the right side of his stomach. The Thai activist shares a ward with 30 other patients, predominantly elderly prisoners diagnosed with a range of illnesses, including pulmonary oedema.

Despite his condition, Ekachai was recently moved from the hospital to the Criminal Court, where he is a defendant in an ongoing case related to a protest outside the United Nations building in Bangkok in 2018.

Ekachai told his lawyers he wished to have the surgery at Thammasat University Hospital as the prison hospital does not seem equipped for the procedure.

Ekachai’s initial imprisonment came in April 2013, following his arrest in March 2011 for selling pirated copies of an Australian television documentary revolving around the Thai monarchy. He was found guilty under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese-majeste law, and was sentenced to three years and four months.

Following his release, Ekachai became a vocal critic of the military government spearheaded by General Prayut Chan-o-cha. His protests, notably against Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon for his collection of luxury watches, led to physical assaults by individuals opposing his views.

In June this year, Ekachai was among the five people cleared of the charges of threatening the safety of Her Majesty the Queen, a seldom-used section of the Criminal Code, in a 2020 incident involving a royal motorcade.

However, he was imprisoned again in July this year, when the Supreme Court upheld his one-year sentence for violating the Computer Crime Act. Ekachai was convicted on for sharing explicit details of his sexual experiences while in prison on Facebook, Bangkok Post reported.

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Atima Homtientong

Atima is a dedicated news writer living in Bangkok. With a degree from Mahidol University, she focuses on reporting key issues and happenings around the country. In her off time, Atima enjoys writing and producing music.

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