The mother of jailed activist Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak on Monday demanded an investigation into the delays in transferring her Covid-19-stricken son and other detained protest leaders to hospital for treatment.
Sureerat Chiwarak handed in the letter to the Ministry of Justice.
“As a parent of Penguin, and a representative parent to the other detained protest leaders who were arrested and have caught Covid-19 inside the correctional institutions, we are now very concerned of their condition and that they may not be receiving the right treatments at the correctional hospitals,” Sureerat, known as “Mae Su” (Mother Su), told the press on Monday. “We have contacted and coordinated with Thammasat University Hospital to request our children be transferred to a proper place for treatment.”
“We have requested this transfer since August 16, but to no progress,” Sureerat added. “We are now very concerned and scared, and want to know what happened to those requests.”
Sureerat presented the letter to Wanlop Nakbua, the deputy secretary who came out to receive the letter on behalf of the ministry. She was accompanied by Kritsadang Nutjarat, a lawyer at the Center for Human Rights lawyers and other political activists such as Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, Boonlert Wisetpreecha, Thanat Thanakitamnuay, and other protesters.
Wanlop Nakbua, acting as a spokesperson for the ministry, spoke to reporters and confirmed that the detained protesters were indeed infected with the coronavirus, and the Department of Corrections were already giving their full attention and treatment. The Ministry was not taking the case lightly, but a transfer is a decision under the director’s discretion, Wanlop said, adding that he could not say whether the decision would be made today, or which way it might go.
Photography by James Wilson