Hunger striking Thai activist taken to hospital

On Friday, a  prominent Thai pro-democracy activist was rushed to hospital after more than a month on a hunger strike while in detention on royal defamation charges.

 

Parit Chiwarak, who is popularly known by his nickname as “Penguin”, has been held on remand since being charged in February under Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws.

Parit faces more than a dozen charges for his role in protests last year against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

 

He has lost more than 12 kilograms since he started his hunger strike on March 16, and officials transferred him to a hospital on Friday amid concerns that his health has deteriorated.

The deputy general of the Department of Corrections, Thawatchai Chaiyawat told reporters that  Doctors and nurses were worried that he could go into a shock, so they agreed that he should be hospitalized out of prison receive treatment from an expert doctor.

 

Last year, student-led demonstrations in Bangkok brought tens of thousands at their peak. Still, the movement has petered out this year with increased restrictions on public gatherings due to rising Covid infections.

The movement broke long-held taboos by calling for reforms to the monarchy in a country where the royal family is considered untouchable and treated with reverence for decades.

 

The king and his family are protected by the kingdom’s tough lese majeste laws, which carry prison terms of up to 15 years per charge.

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