Prominent pro-democracy activist, Arnon Nampa, 37, is currently ill with a high fever in Bangkok Remand Prison, his legal team from Thai Lawyers For Human Rights (TLHR) told Thai Enquirer on Thursday.
Noraseth Nanongtoom, a lawyer with TLHR, said that they are urgently seeking medical attention for him as they are concerned that his condition could continue to worsen.
“The Bangkok Remand Prison must allow medical workers to check on his illness and to find out if he has Covid or not,” Noraseth said. “Lawyers from TLHR have visited him and found out that he was ill, and it was confirmed by Pai Jatupat that Arnon has a high fever. But at the moment, we do not know what he’s sick with,” he said.
Arnon already contracted Covid while in pretrial detention in May 2021. He recovered from the infection, but there is now fear that the new wave of the Omicron variant could be spreading in prisons again.
His legal team is aware of the increased risk of Covid inside prisons, and noted that Arnon must be allowed to get tested for the virus as soon as possible.
Noraseth explained that Arnon was a healthy person before his first entering prison in 2021. But now he has difficulty breathing and is easily vulnerable to fatigue due to a previous lung infection brought on from Covid.
He said other detainees who share the same jail cell with Arnon have not shown any symptoms of illness.
Arnon, along with other protest leaders including Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa and Panupong “Mike Rayong” Jadnok, announced in December that they will no longer seek bail.
Over the last year, the Criminal Court repeatedly denied their bail requests, citing the concern that they will continue to conduct illegal activities if they are released.
The protest leaders are being charged with multiple counts of sedition and lese-majeste charges for leading demonstrations against Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha’s government and calling for the reformation of the royal institution.
According to TLHR, there are now 20 protesters held in pretrial detention. Of the group, at least five have been charged with lese-majeste, including the majority of the anti-government movement’s leaders.
Arnon has been incarcerated since August 11. He faces 24 lese-majeste counts, each with a 3-15 year jail sentence.
“It is Arnon’s and other protest leaders’ intention to no longer seek for bail because the court keeps on denying their right to bail,” Noraseth said. “This is a part of their fight.”