Concern rises for lives of activists on hunger strike

Striking statement: Orawan (left) and Tatawan pouring red liquid over their heads during a protest calling for justice system reforms outside the Criminal Court in Bangkok last month. — AP

CONCERNS about the condition of two hunger strikers seeking political and judicial reforms in Thailand heightened after the hospital where the two women are being kept urgently summoned their parents.

Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon, 21, and Orawan “Bam” Phuphong, 23, have been on a hunger strike since Jan 18 – much of that time refusing water and food – to back their demands for reform of the justice system, the release of political prisoners pending trial and for lawmakers to amend or abolish laws used against political dissidents.Their lawyer Krisadang Nutcharas said they were in poor condition and at risk of losing their lives.

“Their parents didn’t sleep last night and they have been here since morning,” he said on Monday.

“This is not a scripted drama to ask people for their sympathy.”

The duo are among at least 228 people, some of them minors, who have been charged with violating the lese majeste law, which carries a prison term of three to 15 years for insulting the monarchy.

Critics say the law is often wielded as a tool to quash political dissent. — AP

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