Thai corrections dept. insists hunger striking protest leader Penguin’s condition not critical

Anti-government protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chirawak crosses a police barrier on the way to Khlong Luang police station to hear charges for illegal gathering, in Pathum Thani on February 5, 2021. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

Thailand’s corrections department issued an official statement today (Saturday), confirming that the general health of Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, anti-establishment Ratsadon leader and hunger striker, is normal, albeit he experiences fatigue and pain around the cannula, through which intravenous fluids are administered.

The department also said that it could not confirm Parit’s claim that he had noticed blood in his stool about four days ago,because he has refused to have a proctological examination by doctors at the prison.

After the removal of the intravenous line from Parit’s arm, the department said that doctors were called in to conduct an additional examination and found that he was experiencing slight fatigue, dry lips and occasional stomach pains.

The doctors think that the stomach discomfort might be caused by gastritis, administered appropriate medication and had him transferred to Ramathibodi hospital, said the department in the statement, adding that treatment by specialists and additional examinations would benefit the patient.

It also asked the Ratsadon leader’s relatives, friends and followers to understand that his current health condition is a result of his prolonged hunger strike.

Parit stopped eating solid foods on March 15th, in protest against the Criminal Court’s repeated rejection of his bail applications.  He has now been on hunger strike for 45 days, surviving on milk and, eventually, electrolyte fluids, water and intravenous fluids, until his transfer from the Bangkok Remand Prison to Ramathibodi Hospital on Friday.

Another Ratsadon leader, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul also, subsequently, went on hunger strike.

Both are indicted on lèse majesté, sedition and other charges.

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