Laws and Justice

Activist in Thailand Dies on Hunger Strike in Prison

Main image to the post Activist in Thailand Dies on Hunger Strike in Prison

Netiporn "Bung" Sanesangkhom, a 28-year-old activist in Thailand known for her involvement in the group Thaluwang, which campaigns for reform of the monarchy and abolition of laws that criminalize defamation of royal family members, passed away in a prison hospital on Tuesday. She had been on a partial hunger strike for 110 days leading up to her demise while being held in detention ahead of trial, sparking fresh criticism of the judicial processes that detain political offenders for extended periods without trial.

Netiporn's death has reignited calls for a review of the legal system in Thailand, as her passing underscores the consequences faced by activists speaking out against the monarchy and facing severe judicial harassment. Amnesty International and the Move Forward party have both condemned the Thai government's denial of bail to political offenders and its suppression of dissent, particularly criticizing the lese majeste law, which prohibits insulting or defaming royal family members under significant penalties.

The Thai monarchy, once considered a pillar of Thai nationalism, has faced increasing criticism in recent years, particularly by student-led pro-democracy protests that openly challenged the monarchy's authority and led to a surge in prosecutions under the lese majeste law. Netiporn's activism, along with over 270 other activists, surged during these protests, with many facing charges related to expressing dissent against the royal family, highlighting the ongoing struggle for freedom of speech and human rights in Thailand.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09