Hundreds of prisoners infected with COVID-19 in two prisons in Bangkok

Bangkok | Authorities said hundreds of prisoners, including several leading pro-democracy figures in Thailand, have contracted the coronavirus in two of Bangkok’s main prisons.

The Kingdom has experienced its worst wave since the start of the health crisis in recent weeks, with a total of nearly 95,000 cases and 518 deaths.

2,835 cases have been identified in the capital’s two main prisons, Tavisin Visanuyotin, spokesman for the coronavirus control center, said Thursday, without specifying the length of the verification period.

He added that now 100% of the detainees have been tested.

Authorities released the numbers after one of the headliners of the pro-democracy movement that rocked the kingdom for nearly a year, demanding the resignation of the prime minister and reform of the monarchy, sounded the alarm at the door.

Panusaya Sichijiravattanakul announced on social media Wednesday that she tested positive for COVID-19 five days after being released on bail in early May, Rung said.

Another leader, Panupong Judnock, known as “Mike”, was also infected and his lawyer will ask him to be released on bail.

There is no transparency in managing the epidemic for prisoners, pro-democracy activist Somet Pruexakasemsuk, who was released on bail in late April, lamented to AFP.

“We are very angry and ask the authorities to take moral responsibility,” he added.

The authorities did not provide data on other prisons in the country.

“The Thai government must be frank about the COVID-19 epidemic in its prison system and the means it intends to use to avoid its dire consequences for prisoners,” said Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch.

Thailand has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world due to very strict drug laws.

According to the website Prisonstudies, as of April 1, there were about 308,000 convicted or awaiting trial in the kingdom.

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