On 22 Jan, Kittichai Charnchoengsilpakul, Da Torpedo’s brother, together with some 30 activists, red shirts and monks, presented a petition to the Corrections Department, requesting the agency to provide medical treatment for Daranee.
Kittichai said that his sister needed to receive treatment outside the prison, because the prison clinic lacks equipment. Despite a medical statement from a doctor at the prison confirming her illness, the court had denied her request for temporary release to receive treatment, and the prison had not sent her to an outside hospital.
Kittichai and a few of the activists talked with Maj Ratthakit Jaijing, Secretary of the Corrections Department, and other officials for about 30 minutes. The Secretary told them that the Central Women’s Correctional Institution had sent Daranee for medical examination at the Police Hospital on 11 Jan, and the doctors had yet to make any appointment for treatment.
This was up to the doctors’ judgment. If they considered it a serious case, the department would act promptly. But if it was less serious, more seriously ill convicts had to be treated first. The department would definitely follow the doctors’ recommendation, Ratthakit said.
When Kittichai asked if Daranee could be sent to another hospital where he would foot the bill, the Secretary insisted that it had to be in accordance with the rules of the department, and he believed that the Police Hospital could handle the case. Referral to another hospital was up to the doctors.
Kittichai also addressed mistreatment Daranee had to endure in prison, such as being forced to sit alone, being prohibited from talking to other inmates for 3 hours in the late afternoon, and being transferred to a more crowded cell. The officials said that it was an internal management issue, but they would look into the matter.
Ratthakit promised Kittichai and the activists that the petition would not negatively affect the convict as feared.
One of the activists told Prachatai that he joined the petition activity because he supported human rights, and Daranee should have received proper medical treatment.
‘Even if it wasn’t Da, and it was someone else, we would come anyway, for the sake of justice. Da is not a murderer who has committed an unforgivable crime. Maybe not many people have come today, because the case scares people,’ the activist said.
Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul has complained about her molar abscess (a Prachatai reader doctor J suggests that it is probably 'TMJ disorder' or temporomandibular joint disorder) which has made it difficult for her to speak or to eat.
On 5 Nov 2009, Dr Pin Limmeechokechai at the clinic inside the Central Women’s Correctional Institute, issued a medical statement, confirming that the problem was a molar joint disorder and suggesting that a CT scan was needed to plan treatment.
Months before, Daranee had told visitors about her molar problem which prevented her from finishing her meals in time, and the fact that prison food was quite hard and spicy made eating even more difficult for her. The prison clinic only gave her pain killers. To receive treatment outside the prison required waiting in a very long queue, and that could take a year. She had to depend on soya milk, which visitors bought for her, as her main food.
According to her lawyer Prawase Praphanukul, officials at the prison clinic told him that they had no equipment to perform operations, and they even asked Daranee to help raise donations of medical equipment for the clinic when she was released.
The lawyer had asked the court for temporary release, but was refused. On 3 Dec 2009, he made the same request again, this time with the doctor’s medical statement, and the Appeals Court also dismissed the request on 8 Dec 2009, saying that the convict had repeatedly committed very serious offences against the monarchy and national security, so it was likely that she would flee or re-commit similar offences, and the claimed illness did not appear life-threatening or affect her everyday life.
Constitutional Court dismisses complaint against the closed trial
On 27 Aug 2009, Daranee had her lawyer file an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the Criminal Court’s order to close her trials to the public and its refusal to forward her appeal against the order to the Constitutional Court. The appeal said these decisions were unconstitutional, and asked the Constitutional Court to order the Criminal Court to suspend the case until the issue of the Criminal Court’s order was solved.
The Criminal Court had dismissed her appeal against closed trials and rejected her request to forward the appeal to the Constitutional Court, claiming that its order to hold closed trials did not violate the rights of the defendant, as the defendant was able to have her lawyer present and to submit witnesses and evidence in the trials.
One day later, on 28 Aug 2009, Daranee was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.
On 21 Oct 2009, the Constitutional Court dismissed Daranee’s appeal, saying that the defendant was still able to exercise her rights through the Appeals and Supreme Courts, and could exercise her rights through other means before reaching the Constitutional Court, since Section 212 of the 2007 Constitution
says that the appellant must already have exhausted all other means.
Regarding the Criminal Court’s refusal to forward the appeal to the Constitutional Court and the defendant’s request for suspension of the case, the Constitutional Court responded that the appellant had not asked it to consider whether a particular provision of the law was unconstitutional or not.
The appeal was therefore not valid since it did not fall within the criteria specified in Section 212 of the 2007 Constitution.
Criminal Court dismisses Daranee’s lawsuit against judge
On the first working day in Jan 2010, Daranee filed a lawsuit against Criminal Court Judge Phrommas Phusae for malfeasance and negligence.
According to Daranee’s complaint, on 23 June 2009, Phrommas, as the judge conducting the trials of her lèse majesté case, ordered that the trials be closed to the public, referring to Section 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and Daranee objected to this order. On 25 June 2009, Daranee made a request to the judge to suspend the proceedings and forward her appeal against the order to the Constitutional Court, and on the same day, the judge dismissed the request. Daranee argued that the judge had no power to do so, and was obliged to forward her appeal to the Constitutional Court. On 3 July 2009, Daranee made the same request, but the judge again refused the appeal.
On 6 Jan 2010, the Criminal Court dismissed the appeal, saying that the judge had acted according to law.