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Hunger strike activists Tantawan Tuatulanon and Orawan Phuphong has resume dry fasting, after a 25-year-old protester was denied bail on Wednesday (1 March).

Thattaphong Khieaokhao (Photo from TLHR)

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported on Wednesday (1 March) that Thattaphong Khieaokhao, 25, has been denied bail after he was indicted for being in possession of an explosive. He was previously arrested on 16 November 2022 at a police checkpoint during the APEC summit and held in pre-trial detention before he was released on 8 February.

The Criminal Court denied him bail on the grounds that his offence was serious and carries a high penalty, and that the explosive he was allegedly carrying could be a threat to the public. It also claimed he was a flight risk.

Tantawan leaving Thammasat University Hospital on 25 February. (Photo by Ginger Cat)

Tantawan and Orawan announced at around 1.00 on Thursday morning (2 March) via Tantawan’s Facebook page that Thattaphong’s detention shows that the court has never listened to their demands, and so they will resume dry fasting and will no longer take fluids or medication.

“None of us is safe if the court still doesn’t follow the law,” they wrote.

The pair have been on a hunger strike for 43 days to demand the release of all political prisoners, reform of the judicial system, and for political parties to back the repeal of the royal defamation and sedition law. They first began dry fasting on 18 January after their demands were not met within three days after they revoked their own bail. They were initially admitted to the Department of Corrections Hospital but were transferred to Thammasat University Hospital on 24 January.

At the request of doctors, they began taking a small amount of water each day since 30 January and later agreed to receive IV fluids after two weeks of dry fasting. On 7 February, they were granted bail, following a request from the director of Thammasat University Hospital, although both activists said they did not know about the request and did not consent to it.

They left the hospital on 25 February and have been continuing their hunger strike in a tent in front of the Supreme Court.

Other than Thattaphong, three other protesters remain in detention: Thiranai, Khathathon, and Chaiyaporn.

Orawan leaving Thammasat University Hospital on 25 February. (Photo by Ginger Cat)

According to a statement from their lawyer released on Tantawan’s Facebook page on Thursday evening (2 March), both activists are still conscious and alert. Tantawan has some muscle pain, fatigue, and faint when changing positions. She is also suffering from menstrual cramps but refused painkillers or medication to delay her cycle. Meanwhile, Orawan is fatigued and suffered from tightness in her chest.

The statement noted that Tantawan and Orawan are worried about the court’s actions, and that they have not decided what to do in case of an emergency. They also found it unreasonable for the court to deny Thattaphong bail, as he has been cooperative and show no intention to flee because he attended his court appointment when he was indicted. They also said that, if being indicted for a serious charge is a cause for bail denial, it would be very easy for many people to be deny bail.

Tantawan and Orawan also said they learned that the Criminal Court has receive the behaviour report for Khathathon, another detained protester, but that court officials told his guarantor to come to court on 7 March to hear the result of the bail request. They said that they don’t know what their condition will be like on that date, but they told their lawyer that they will wait for everyone to be granted bail and hope that the court will think about its action.

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