Two Thai activists held on royal defamation charges were freed on bail Thursday, lawyers said, after the women had gone on hunger strike for more than 60 days.
Natthanit Duangmusit, 20, and Netiporn Sanesangkhom, 26, members of a pro-democracy group that advocates reform of the Thai monarchy, were both extremely weak, human rights lawyer Krisadang Nutcharus told AFP.
The pair had been in custody for more than three months, awaiting trial under the kingdom’s notoriously strict lese majeste laws which ban virtually all criticism of the king and his immediate family.
“Their condition is not well. If the courts were to grant bail requests a day late, they could die,” said Krisadang.
Footage showed them being taken from prison in an ambulance.
“They have not been given guilty verdicts. The courts probably have caved in to social pressure from detaining them in a long pre-trial detention,” the lawyer said.
Thailand’s lese majeste laws have long drawn criticism from human rights activists, who say they are overly broad and misused to suppress debate.
Use of the legislation slowed for several years, but picked up again when youth-led street protests sprung up in 2020, calling for democratic change and reforms to the monarchy.
More than 200 lese majeste cases have been brought since November 2020, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) group.