Court grants temporary release to two hunger strikers

Image Credit: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)

Thailand’s Criminal Court granted temporary release to two hunger strikers today (Tuesday), at the request of the director of Thammasat University Hospital, claiming that their health has deteriorated to a life-threatening level due to high levels of blood ketone and a reduction of kidney function.

Separate requests for the temporary release of Tantawan Tuatulanon, aka “Tawan”, and Orawan Phuphong, aka “Bam’, were submitted to the Criminal Court today by the director of the hospital.

Both have been treated by the hospital for more than two weeks now, but they are still, technically, being held on remand after they voluntarily revoked their own bail and were sent into the Central Women’s Correctional Institute.

The hospital director said in the application for release that the hunger strikers are in a critical condition and they are not physically strong enough to continue to be held on remand.

Both are facing multiple charges, including lèse majesté.

In the case of Tantawan, the court granted her release for one month on the grounds that keeping her in detention, under the care of corrections officials, may pose an impediment to the rehabilitation of the detainee.

In the case of Orawan, the hospital director reasoned that her further detention may result in her death, as her health has deteriorated severely, with high levels of blood ketone and declining function of the kidneys.

The court granted her temporary release without bail.

The two hunger strikers, however, expressed surprise at the court’s order to free them without bail, because they didn’t want to be freed to start with, but have demanded, through their hunger strike, the release of the other political prisoners and detainees, according to a statement from the Taluwang protest group.

The two have vowed not to sign any court documents regarding their release and have asked the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights organisation to send them copies of the court’s decisions.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Court has rejected the bail requests for eight detainees of the Talugas protest group, claiming that they were charged with serious offences involving the use of explosives and that they might attempt to escape if they were to be bailed out.


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