Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Urgent Action Needed to Protect the Rights of prisoners from Covid-19 Pandemic

Thailand Human Rights Campaign calls on the Thai authorities to take urgent action to safeguard the rights and health of all prisoners during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In April, it had been reported that over 100 prisoners and prison officers have been infected with Covid-19, including Chukiat “Justin” Saengwong, a detained protest leader from the Ratsadon, has contracted covid while in jail at Bangkok Remand Prison. He is one of the 20 detained protestors under lese majeste law whose right to bail are being repeatedly denied.

Lese majeste carries a penalty of three to 15 years imprisonment.

At least 87 protesters and activists have been charged under the lese majeste law in connection with the pro-democracy movement in 2020.

As the extreme overcrowding in Thailand’s prisons, convicted prisoners and persons on remand are among those most vulnerable to viral contagion as they are held in a high-risk environment and poor detention conditions in cramped cells.

The Guidance issued in March 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO) urges governments to immediately consider the release of those at heightened risk of serious effects from COVID-19 in prisons.

We call on the Thai authorities to take urgent measures to protect the right to life and health of everyone deprived of their liberty. We further call for the authorities to respect and uphold the right to a fair trial and immediately release all those currently held in pre-trial detention, by following WHO recommendations and guidelines.

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