6 June 2024

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong said today that he plans to visit political activist Tantawan Tuatulanon, who has been on a hunger strike since late January.

Tawee said he wants to see Tantawan’s condition first hand, following today’s death of detained activist Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 28, who died of cardiac arrest at Thammasat University Hospital at 11:22am.

“The government wishes to express its condolences on the passing of Netiporn. A thorough investigation by a joint committee will be conducted to ensure transparency. This is expected to be completed within seven days,” he said.

Netiporn had been on hunger strike since late January, after the Court revoked her bail on a lèse majesté charge following her involvement in a protest related to a royal motorcade.

During her detention and hunger strike in the Corrections Department Hospital, Netiporn was transferred to Thammasat University Hospital because of her deteriorating health.

The department issued a statement after Netiporn’s death, claiming that she had “agreed to take food and liquid” after she returned to the Corrections Department Hospital, but refused to take some supplementary vitamins.

Tantawan, charged twice for lèse majesté in 2022, was arrested again on February 13 and accused of sedition, breaking the Computer Crime Act and causing a public disturbance. Her bail requests have repeatedly been denied.

Her condition is also believed to be deteriorating, as she refuses to end the hunger strike.

Meanwhile, Krisadang Nutcharat, from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), questioned the Corrections Department’s treatment of convict and detainees today, asking whether it has dual standards following this morning’s death on hunger strike of a Thalu Wang group political activist Netiporn Sanesangkhom.

He said that TLHR had visited Netiporn while she was incarcerated at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution, found that her physical health was deteriorating and had applied for her release on bail, but without success.

He said there are numerous young people who are incarcerated on political offence charges and he wonders whether they have been treated the same way as “some adults”, presumably a veiled reference to the recent release on parole of convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, partially justified by his claimed ill health.

“If the standard of treatment is equal for all inmates, why did Netiporn have to be sent to Thammasat University Hospital?” asked Krisadang.

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