A supporter at the Court today wearing a shirt with Tantawan's photo and a sunflower on their bag strap. (Photo by Ginger Cat)

Hunger striking activists denied bail for the 7th time

Activists Tantawan Tuatulanon and Nutanon Chaimahabut, who have been on a hunger strike for over a month to protest their detention, have been denied bail for the 7th time.

Tantawan's father, Sommai Tuatulanon, arriving at the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court this morning (28 March) to file a bail request for his daughter and Nutanon. (Photo by Ginger Cat)

Tantawan’s father, Sommai Tuatulanon, filed a bail request for Tantawan and Nutanon with the Criminal Court this morning (28 March) because their health has worsened due to their hunger strike. However, the court dismissed his request because there is no reason to change its existing order.

Activist Orawan Phupong said that Tantawan and Nutanon have very low blood potassium levels, putting their lives in danger. Doctors have recommended that they receive treatment, but they have refused.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) also said that, according to a cardiologist monitoring Tantawan, she has heart arrhythmia due to low potassium and magnesium level. The cardiologist has told her family that she could go into cardiac arrest.

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 so far been detained for 44 days and all of their bail requests have been denied.

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 at the exit from the expressway.  A police officer can be seen approaching the vehicle before Tantawan is heard arguing.

On 20 March, the Criminal Court extended their detention order for 12 more days, as the police claim they are still gathering evidence.

Tantawan and Nutanon has been on a hunger strike since the beginning of their detention. They are calling for a reform of the justice system, an end to the detention of dissidents, and for Thailand to denied its bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

Tantawan is now held at Thammasat University Hospital and Nutanon at the Corrections Hospital. Both have refused medical intervention. They continue to refuse food and are drinking only a small amount of water each day.

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