Secretary to the Minister of Justice, Thanakrit Jitareerat, has made it clear that the ministry would support any request by Mr Parit’s mother Ms Sureerat Chiwarak, to have her son moved to a Corrections Department hospital where his care could be monitored more effectively and which would have more medical resources than doctors at the Pathum Thani Detention Centre where he is currently incarcerated.
An aide to the Minister of Justice Somsak Thepsutin has expressed concern for the condition of student protest leader Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak and has invited Mr Parit’s mother to request his removal from the Pathum Thani Detention Centre where he is currently being held, to a Corrections Department hospital so that he can receive more comprehensive care as the 23-year-old Ratsadon movement leader has now been refusing food for the last two weeks since announcing he was going on hunger strike at the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Tuesday, March 16th last.
A senior official at the Ministry of Justice on Monday admitted that the Corrections Department was beginning to become concerned for the medical condition of key Ratsadon leader Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak who has been on hunger strike since the middle of March and is reported to be only taking mineral water and milk.
The protest leader who was denied bail by the Criminal Court on February 9th when he was deemed a flight risk, is facing serious charges under Article 112 and 116 of the Criminal Code for lèse-majesté and sedition related to his participation and pronouncements in the course of street protests targeting the government and the monarchy which began in July last year.
Recently sentenced to 30 days for contempt of court after an uproarious speech on March 16th last
The student leader was recently sentenced to 30 days in prison for contempt of court due to his behaviour in court on the 16th March when there were uproarious scenes as he announced he was going on hunger strike until all protesters being held in prison by the court pending determination of charges against them, were granted bail.
Tougher line by the courts on bail and a more stringent police enforcement and prosecution policy has tempered the mass protest movement
A tougher line by the courts on bail and a police policy which has seen more prosecutions against offenders involved in mass protests on a range of charges, has led to the movement losing momentum since the beginning of the year.
This has been particularly evident in the last few weeks after a more militant faction within the protest movement, the Wevo guards, was suppressed with its key leader, Piyarat Chongthep, charged and denied bail.
Penguin currently being jailed in Pathum Thani
Mr Parit or ‘Penguin’, as he is popularly known, is currently being held at the Pathum Thani Detentions Centre after the Minister of Justice Somsak Thepsutin ordered political prisoners who had begun to build up in overcrowded conditions at Klongprem Central Prison and Bangkok Remand Prison, be removed and distributed throughout the Corrections Department network of facilities under heavy guard.
Top official says that the ministry is aware of the political nature and public interest in the case
On Monday, Thanakrit Jitareerat, the secretary to the Minister of Justice, underlined that while the minister was committed to treating all detainees equally, officials were also duty-bound to be cognisant of the fact that Mr Parit is being held before the court in a case of significant political interest to the public.
He indicated that the ministry would have no problem if Mr Parit’s mother, Ms Sureerat Chiwarak, were to request that her son be removed from the detention centre in Pathum Thani to a hospital run by the Corrections Department.
Health is currently good but doctors have placed him on a saline drip as he is in a weak state
He said that Mr Parit’s health was currently good but that doctors at the detention facility had placed him on a saline drip as the political prisoner has been without food now for a considerable time. The ministry official described his physical state as weak.
He urged Mr Parit’s mother to try to persuade her son to resume eating and to call off his hunger strike.
He said that while there were doctors at the Pathum Thani Detention Centre, the facility lacked the equipment to deal with any possible deterioration in Mr Parit’s condition or an emergency.
The government official also made it clear that the ministry would not oppose a request from the National Human Rights Commission to visit the detained student protest leader.
Penguin’s mother fully supports her son’s politics
Ms Sureerat is known to be an ardent supporter of her son’s political efforts.
Taking part in the ‘People Go’ walk from Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok at the end of February she said: ‘As a mother, I also want him to have a bright future like other parents who hope for the better future of their children.’
‘Penguin, you are my heart. Don’t worry about me and your younger siblings. All are fine. Don’t feel discouraged as many people are sending you enormous encouragement,’ she said. ‘I want you to be released on bail so you can fight outside to show your sincerity that you are fighting for righteousness for the sake of the nation.’