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Lawyers representing detained activist Ekkachai Hongkangwan have asked for him to be transferred to the Thammasat University Hospital after a tumour was found in his abdomen.

Ekkachai has been hospitalised since 8 September, when he was admitted to the Corrections Hospital for a high fever and jaundice. It was later found that he has abnormal kidney function and leukocytosis.

On Tuesday (12 September), doctors found a large tumour in his abdomen. He received a blood test to determine if the tumour was malignant. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reports that the results are still not known and that several more tests need to be run, including a CT scan and a biopsy, before doctors can make a diagnosis.

Ekkachai told his lawyers that the tumour is closed to his gallbladder, and that he received surgery to remove gall stones in 2005.

TLHR also said that Ekkachai has been sick since 1 September, when he first developed a high fever. On 2 September, he developed jaundice. On the 4th, he filed a request to see a prison doctor, and was examined the next day. On the 8th, he was taken to the Corrections Hospital for a blood test and was admitted after it was found that he had abnormal liver enzyme levels and high blood acidity.

Ekkachai was brought to court on Wednesday (13 September) for a hearing relating to charges filed against him and other activists for a protest in 2019. He told his lawyers that he preferred to receive surgery at the Thammasat University Hospital, since he is not confident the Corrections Hospital would be able to provide him with adequate medical care.

Ekkachai’s lawyers file a request with the Corrections Hospital on Thursday (14 September) to have him transferred to the Thammasat University Hospital, which is better equipped to treat him. The request noted his symptoms, and raised concerns that his life could be in danger.

TLHR said today (15 September) that, according to the director of the Corrections Hospital, the CT scan found that Ekkachai has an abscess in his liver and has been taken to the Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health, for further examination.

The 48-year-old activist was charged with uploading pornographic content to a computer system in violation of the Computer Crimes Act for Facebook posts he made in 2017 which discussed the sexual encounters he experienced while detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison on a royal defamation charge. During the trial, he explained that the posts were intended to inform the public about the daily life of an inmate.

TLHR noted that Ekkachai was charged around the time he was actively campaigning for an investigation into alleged corruption by former Deputy Prime Minister and coup leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and his ownership of luxury watch and jewelry that were not listed on the asset account submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Ekkachai was sentenced to 1 year in prison and has been detained since 6 July 2023, following a verdict from the Supreme Court. He is expected to be released in February 2024.

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