Sansern: Suthachai has the right to hunger strike

CRES spokesperson Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd said that Chulalongkorn academic Suthachai Yimprasert had the right to go on a hunger strike, which must make him hungry, but insisted that the CRES was authorized to detain him under the Emergency Decree.

Suthachai Yimprasert, a history lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Letters, has been detained at Adisorn military camp in Saraburi since 23 May.  According to his lawyer, he has been on hunger strike since the morning of 27 May in protest, as he has been forbidden any news from newspapers, radio, or TV, and even prevented from reading academic books he brought with him to prepare his lectures for the upcoming semester.

In a Matichon report on 27 May, Col Sansern said that there were other academics who criticized the CRES, but the CRES did not detain them.  Dr Suthachai was issued an arrest warrant, and came to turn himself in voluntarily.  Not eating must make him hungry, but that was his right.  The CRES has followed the Decree of Public Administration in Emergency Situations in detaining him in a military camp or place other than a prison.  If he really does not eat, 'Jele' should be enough to make him full, the colonel said, [? – Prachatai]. 

Krissadang Nutcharat, Suthachai’s lawyer, said that his client would go on hunger strike until he is allowed to read to prepare his lectures.  The authorities’ prohibition is illegal, and is in violation of fundamental rights and freedoms.  Even the Emergency Decree itself prohibits the authorities to detain or treat suspects as if they are prisoners.  And suspects are not to be detained in prisons, and can only be subject to temporary confinement.  

This coming Sunday, 30 May, which is the last day of the 7-day detention period, is on a weekend, so the authorities made a request to the court on 27 May to extend his detention.

On 23 May, police raided and searched Suthachai’s house, informing him that the CRES had ordered his arrest under Section 11 (1) of the Emergency Decree to prevent him from joining activities which could lead to harmful incidents.  On 24 May, at 10 am, Suthachai and Somyos Preuksakasemsuk, leader of the Group of 24 June Democracy and editor of Voice of Taksin magazine, turned themselves in at the Crime Suppression Division, and were unexpectedly sent to be detained at Adisorn military camp in Saraburi.


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