Detained protester attempted suicide

A protester currently detained on charges relating to recent protests at the Din Daeng Intersection attempted suicide over the weekend by overdosing on paracetamol while in detention at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported on Monday (27 June) that their lawyers were told by Thirawit (last name withheld), 41, a protester detained on charges relating to the burning of a police car during a protest on 11 June, that Phalaphon (last name withheld), another protester detained on the same charges, attempted suicide by overdosing on paracetamol and was taken to the Department of Corrections Hospital.

Thirawit told the lawyers that, since he is the oldest of the group that is being detained together, he was responsible for the rest of the detained protesters. He said he was responsible for a box of medicine given to them by a prison officer in case anyone in the cell got sick, and that the box is always near him. He thinks that on Friday night (24 June), Phalaphon sneaked a large number of paracetamol out of the box while everyone else was asleep and took the pills intending to end his own life.

On Saturday morning (25 June), Thirawit and other inmates noticed that Phalaphon was constantly vomiting, and that he was confused and could not communicate, so they tried to get him to tell them why he was throwing up. They also searched the cell and found over 10 empty paracetamol packs under Phalaphon’s bed. Phalaphon then told them that he was trying to commit suicide, so his cellmates called prison officers, who took Phalaphon to the Department of Corrections Hospital to have his stomach pumped.

Phalaphon’s cellmates were not given updates on his conditions. Meanwhile, Ayuth Sintoppant, Director-General of the Department of Corrections, told Matichon Online that he received reports of an attempted suicide by overdosing on paracetamol, and that the inmate was taken to the Department of Corrections Hospital and is now safe. He also said that a psychologist has also spoken to the inmate to reduce his stress.

Thirawit said that 20-year-old Phalaphon is the most stressed out of the 11 protesters detained on the same charges, and that he told Thirawit that he reported to the police even though no arrest warrant had been issued for him because he was sure of his own innocence, but instead, he was charged and put in pre-trial detention. Thirawit also said that Phalaphon often expressed hopelessness and told others that he wanted to die. He has also been seen sitting in a corner of the cell by himself and was seen crying several times.

Thirawit said that all of the detained protesters in the group are stressed and anxious. Many in the group could not eat, or were eating only one meal a day. He also said that two other detained protesters, Phutiphong and Baibun, used the lid from a can of fish to cut themselves on the face and arms over 10 times from the wrist to elbow to protest their detention and denial of bail. Thirawit himself has been on a hunger strike since 18 June to protest their detention. He said he has not eaten anything and is only drinking water and electrolyte drinks, and that he is so weak he can no longer walk.

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