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Hunger striking royal reform activist dies in custody in Thailand

Elishabawa 1 week ago 0 3

In Bangkok, Thailand, Netiporn “Bung” Sanesangkhom was renowned among her peers and kin for her remarkable courage, outspoken nature, and unwavering determination. Despite her tender age of 28, she stood as a formidable figure within the Thai democracy movement, fearlessly advocating for royal reform despite the legal and physical hazards it entailed.

Clad in her iconic all-black attire during street protests, Netiporn fearlessly confronted authority, often challenging the omnipresent surveillance and confronting law enforcement officers at demonstrations and public gatherings. Possessing a resolute voice that resonated far and wide, she captivated audiences at rallies with her impassioned speeches.”Let there be reform of the justice process,” declared Netiporn at an event last year. “No one should be imprisoned for expressing political dissent.”Tragically, on April 14, Netiporn succumbed to cardiac arrest while in custody awaiting trial. Since January 26, she had been incarcerated and charged with royal defamation, commonly known as lese-majeste, for conducting public opinion polls concerning Thai royal motorcades, among other allegations.

Even in confinement, she persisted in her protest. Enduring a hunger strike for over 110 days, she denounced the bail conditions imposed on democracy activists. “What transgression did Bung commit? None. She simply championed democracy and sought justice reform,” lamented Emilie Palamy Pradichit, founder and executive director of Manushya Foundation, a rights group based in Thailand, speaking to Al Jazeera.

Emilie and Nitiporn shared a close friendship and frequently collaborated on various endeavors.

“A vibrant soul has been lost because she dared to advocate for democracy and justice,” Emilie lamented. “Herface-trial-as-court-refuses-to-revoke-charges/”> demise underscores her commitment to the people, her steadfast opposition to dictatorship and absolute monarchy, and her vision for a revitalized Thailand. I fervently hope that this tragedy serves as a wakeup call for the entrenched establishment and the state.”

Amidst a backdrop of what she described as a “broken judicial system,” Netiporn played a prominent role within the clandestine anti-monarchical group Thaluwang. Comprising predominantly young activists in their twenties, the group’s moniker, “shattering the palace,” epitomizes their mission to challenge the monarchy’s formidable authority through performance art, provocative actions, and other innovative strategies.As a vocal critic of the monarchy, Netiporn faced mounting legal pressures in Thailand, particularly since the eruption of protests in 2020. She tirelessly advocated for the release of activists languishing in pre-trial detention for extended periods, highlighting systemic injustices within the Thai legal framework.

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