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The Criminal Court ruled yesterday (20 March) to continue detaining activists Tantawan Tuatulanon and Nutanon Chaimahabut, who have been on a hunger strike for over a month, for 12 more days, as the police claims they are still gathering evidence.

Lawyer Kritsadang Nutcharus said that an inquiry officer from Din Daeng Police Station filed a request for the Court to extend its detention order on the grounds that the police are still examining whether dashcam footage given by an eyewitness had been manipulated.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) noted that, when filing a previous detention request on 8 March, the police also claimed that they were still waiting for the footage examination result and told the Court that the examination should be done within a week.

Tantawan and Nutanon were arrested on 13 February on several charges, including sedition, for allegedly honking at and blocking a royal motorcade and for posting dash cam footage of the incident. They have been repeatedly denied bail.

To call for a reform of the justice system, an end to the detention of dissidents, and for Thailand to denied its bid for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council, the two activists have been on a hunger strike since the first day of their detention and are refusing medical intervention. Tantawan is now held at Thammasat University Hospital. TLHR said that she has ketoacidosis and that she has signed a document stating that she does not consent to receiving fluid or nutrients if she loses consciousness. A doctor reportedly told Tantawan that she could go into shock or lose consciousness if she continues her hunger strike. She insists on continuing to refuse food, nutrients or sugar water, and is only drinking a small amount of water each day.

Meanwhile, Nutanon is held at the Corrections Hospital. TLHR said an infection was found in his intestine, but he refused to take medication. He is also refusing food and is only drinking a small amount of water each day.

In a Facebook post on 11 February, Tantawan said that she did not block or cut off the motorcade. She also said she did not know that there was going to be a motorcade. She was on the way back from a funeral and admitted that she was speeding because she was in a hurry.

The dashcam footage shows the vehicle stuck in traffic. The car’s horn can be heard when it moved to the front of the line and the lane was blocked by a police vehicle. The footage also shows that the vehicle was stuck behind another police vehicle while at the exit from the expressway.  A police officer can be seen approaching the vehicle before Tantawan is heard arguing.

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