Thai prime minister promises investigation after activist died in detention

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Thai activists hold a portrait of Netiporn Sanesangkhom, a member of the activist group Thaluwang, known for their bold and aggressive campaigns demanding reform of the monarchy and abolition of the law that makes it illegal to defame members of the royal family outside of Criminal court in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 14. (AP)

BANGKOK, May 15, (AP): Thailand’s prime minister on Wednesday offered his condolences to the family of a young activist who died in detention after a monthslong hunger strike, amid a public debate on the country’s justice system.
Netiporn “Bung” Sanesangkhom, 28, died on Tuesday after suffering cardiac arrest while she was being detained at Bangkok’s Central Women’s Correctional Institution on charges that included defaming the monarchy. She had been on a hunger strike to protest the revokation of her bail in January.
Her death has prompted calls for reviewing a judicial process that allows people accused of politically-motivated, nonviolent offenses to be held for extended periods ahead of trial.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters that Netiporn’s death was a loss that no one wanted, and said he has ordered the Justice Ministry to investigate.
Officials from the Corrections Department said during a press conference on Wednesday that while Netiporn appeared fatigued following her prolonged hunger strike, she had been well and there was no sign that she would develop such critical conditions, and that they had done everything to try to save her life.
They also said the activist had already resumed eating, but refused to take other supplements that could help her body take nutrients better after fasting for so long. They declined to speculate on the possible cause of death until the autopsy results are released.

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