Protest leaders fear for safety after prison guards tried to remove them from the cells at night

Prison guards attempted last night (15 March) to take activists Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattarasaksa and Panupong Jadnok out of the wing where they are being held, claiming that they needed to be tested for Covid-19, says human rights lawyer Anon Nampa in a petition filed with the Criminal Court.

Jatupat Boonpattararaksa (left) and Panupong Jadnok (right) during the "Walking Through the Sky" protest march

Anon’s petition said that the guards came into their cell at 21.30 to try to take Jatupat and Panupong away, but the others refused to let them be taken away, so the officers returned at 23.45 with more people and batons, and twice more at 00.15 and 2.30 on 16 March. During the last two attempts, guards in dark blue uniforms and with no name tags were also present.

Anon said that the guards claimed that Jatupat and Panupong had to undergo a Covid-19 test, but the others refused to let them be taken due to concerns about their safety. He also said that it is unusual to take inmates out of the wing in the middle of the night, and that he fears for their lives as there have been rumours that they would be harmed while in prison.

“I did not sleep all night because I was afraid we would be in danger. Please help save our lives,” said Anon’s petition.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that Anon also wrote another petition for the lawyers to file with the chief of the Bangkok Remand Prison for an investigation into the identity of the officers involved and the agencies they belong to, as well as for CCTV camera footage of the incident to be released.

Anon’s petition also asked that the prison chief explain whether officers are allowed to take inmates out of the cells after midnight.

Jatupat and Panupong were previously held at the Thonburi Remand Prison, but they were moved to the Bangkok Remand Prison after their lawyer filed an inquiry request with the court on 11 March, as on 8 March the court ordered them to be detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison, but they were taken to the Thonburi Remand Prison instead.

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