Protest leader Anon catches COVID-19, while Penguin is returned to prison

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Anti-establishment Ratsadon group leader Anon Nampa, currently being held on remand at Bangkok Remand Prison awaiting trial on lèse majesté and other charges, has been found to be infected with COVID-19 and is now being treated at the Corrections Department’s hospital.

Today (Thursday), Thawatchai Chaiwat, deputy director-general and spokesperson of the Corrections Department, confirmed earlier social media speculation of Anon’s infection, saying that the human rights lawyer tested positive for the virus yesterday.

He said that Anon shared a cell with Chukiart Saengwong, alias Justin, another Ratsadon member who was found to be infected on April 23rd.

Since they shared a cell, Anon was considered at high risk and was screened, which gave a negative result, but a second test yesterday was positive, he added.

Meanwhile, another prominent Ratsadon leader, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, has been transferred from Ramathibodi Hospital back to prison this morning after his health improved. He was sent to hospital last week after his was afraid of going into shock after having been on a hunger strike for more than a month and a half.

A court hearing for Parit and another Ratsadon leader, Chai-amorn Vibulphan, has been postponed today because the two defendants will not complete their 14-day quarantine until tomorrow.

Prison officials said both have to be screened again, to make sure they are clear of the virus, before they will be allowed to attend the hearing.

Only Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, another well-known Ratsadon leader, could attend her bail hearing today.

Human rights lawyer Krisadang Nutcharas said today that he is ready to accept the court’s bail conditions for Panusaya, if the same conditions are applied to three other Ratsadon leaders, namely Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, Patiwat Saraiyaem and Jatupat
Boonpattararaksa, alias Pai Daodin, who were granted bail.

Two high pressure water cannons and police have been posted inside and outside the Criminal Court, in anticipation of a rally by Ratsadon followers to demand the release of their detained colleagues.



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