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Network of Activists call for foreign monitors

A network of protest groups has handed letters to foreign embassies asking diplomats to visit seven Ratsadon group co-leaders and monitor their condition in prison.

Members of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, the Free Youth group, the Ratsadon group, the We Volunteer group, and the Democracy Restoration group handed the letters in at the United States, German and Swiss embassies.

Siraphob Attohi, a protest leader, said that the letters, written in English, ask embassy representatives to specifically check on the conditions of Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, who have been on hunger strike for more than a month, and ensure that they are properly treated while in prison.

Mr Parit is currently on a hunger strike to protest court decisions to repeatedly reject his bail requests. He was hospitalised on Friday at Ramathibodi Hospital after he reportedly began suffering from rectal bleeding.

“We want the diplomats to visit our friends in prison to see the truth with their own eyes,” Mr Siraphob said, adding that political prisoners should be granted bail as this is a right.

Mr Siraphob noted the letters also ask embassy representatives to follow up on the kingdom’s political problems.

Wallop Nakbua, a Justice Ministry spokesman, insisted that the Corrections Department has treated those detained on political offence charges well and they have the right to fight their cases in court with lawyers.

Patsaravalee Tanakitvibulpon, a member of the Root protest group, said she believes the US, Germany and Switzerland uphold the importance of human rights, adding the protest groups could not depend on the Thai government for help.

“We want to spread the truth to the world so representatives of each country can see it for themselves,” she said. “We expect [them] to keep an eye on political cases in Thailand.”

“With the Covid-19 situation, it seems the Thai government is trying to give little publicity to those cases,” she added.

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