22 May 2024

Ratsadon anti-establishment protest leader and hunger striker Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak was today taken from Bangkok Remand Prison to Ramathibodi Hospital, after prison doctors expressed concern that he might go into shock due to his prolonged hunger strike.

Mr. Thawatchai Chaiwat, deputy director-general of the Corrections Department, said Friday that Parit’s weight had reduced from 107kgs to 94.5kgs since he began his hunger strike on March 16th and, lately, he has been drinking less electrolyte fluids and has experienced pain around the cannula, through which he was administered with intravenous fluids.

Although there are no signs that his condition has become critical, he said doctors caring for Parit have expressed concern that he may suffer irreversible organ damage, due to prolonged food deficiency, and that he may suffer shock.

Doctors decided to remove the intravenous line and had him taken to the hospital, said Mr. Thawatchai adding, however, that the Ratsadon leader will still be kept under close watch by corrections officials while being treated in the hospital and that, once he has recovered, he will be taken back to Bangkok Remand Prison.

Earlier today, a group of university lecturers had submitted a petition to the Corrections Department asking for Parit to be transferred to a hospital.

Meanwhile his mother, Mrs. Sureerat, today shaved her head, in protest against the Criminal Court’s refusal to grant her son bail. She also applied for bail again today, despite the fact that the court, yesterday, rejected her application on the grounds that there was no reason to change the earlier decisions of the Criminal and Appeals courts.

Human rights lawyer Mr. Krisadang Nutcharas said today that he does not understand why the court rejected the bail for Parit and six other remanded Ratsadon core leaders yesterday, even though they have promised to comply with the same pledges made by Somyos Prueksakasemsook, Patiwat Saraiyaem and Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, who were granted bail over a week ago.

The pledges include not leaving the country, not interfering with witnesses and not causing trouble.

The Criminal Court has agreed to consider the bail application for Parit and another well-known Ratsadon core leader, Ms. Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, on May 6th.

Responding to the court’s decision, Mrs. Sureerat said that it is a promising sign, because the court has never previously accepted her bail application for consideration, adding that the Corrections Department’s decision to have her son transferred to Ramathibodi Hospital is a clear indication that his health has deteriorated.

She also urged Parit’s supporters, who rallied in front of the court today, to disperse and to return home.