Court Rejects Police Request To Detain Hospitalised Protesters

Protester Taken To Hospital

On Saturday, a court in Ayutthaya rejected a request from police to detain the three protest leaders currently in a Bangkok hospital after the events on the night that followed their temporary release from custody.

The court said the investigation was already finished, so police could proceed with the case without having to detain them, and since they were in the hospital they were not flight risks.

Doctors at Praram 9 Hospital said the three protesters, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul and Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, would need two or three more days to recover from their recent experiences with law enforcement.

It remains to be seen whether police will try to make fresh arrests using different warrants once the three are discharged. There are 80 active warrants related to various offences connected with recent pro-democracy protests, according to Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy metropolitan police chief.

Six police officers were standing guard near the suspects’ hospital rooms yesterday.

Parit and Panusaya were taken to Praram 9 Hospital about 4.45 am yesterday after they were questioned by Ayutthaya police at Pracha Chuen police station in Bangkok following their release from remand prison.

Parit was injured with several glass fragments in his body and Panusaya was exhausted. They joined Panupong, who had been released at the same time and brought to the hospital earlier after fainting while in police custody.

At a briefing yesterday, a team of doctors at the hospital said Panupong suffered several minor cuts from glass fragments.

Parit, who has asthma, also had cuts on his limbs and some glass fragments were found on his body. Panusaya was suffering from severe dehydration and chronic sleep deprivation and was on a saline drip.

All three need at least two to three days to recover, the doctors said.

Pheu Thai MP Tossaporn Serirak and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a former MP of the now-defunct Future Forward Party and co-founder of the Progressive Movement, accompanied them to the hospital in the same van.

Their supporters who had been waiting at the station left after the leaders told them to return home.

Ayutthaya police yesterday morning visited Mr Panupong at the hospital seeking to detain him.

Panupong refused to be held, saying the arrest began at the Bangkok Remand Prison, not at the hospital, and he had the right to be treated there, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

Late Friday afternoon, the Criminal Court had granted bail to three student activists and Patiwat Saraiyaem, another protester.