SUNDAY, April 21, 2024

Tantawan’s father begs for his daughter’s life, promises to keep her ‘out of politics’

Tantawan’s father begs for his daughter’s life, promises to keep her ‘out of politics’

Distraught after seeing his daughter, Tantawan Tuatulanon, “skin and bones” from refusing to eat or drink, Sommai Tuatulanon begged the court to save her and her fellow activist by granting them bail.

Sommai also promised on Saturday to keep Tantawan “out of political matters” if she is granted temporary release.

Tantawan, 22, known for campaigning against royal motorcades, and fellow activist Natthanon Chaimahabud were thrown behind bars on February 13.

On Saturday, Sommai Tuatulanon pleaded with the Criminal Court to grant temporary release for the duo, as they both showed signs of deteriorating health when he visited them at Thammasat University Hospital.

Both Tantawan and Natthanon went on hunger strike right after their arrest.

Sommai told the media that Natthanon “looked blurred”, while Tantawan was reduced to “skin and bones” due to lack of food and water.

He said his daughter could only communicate in almost inaudible whispers.

“If this continues, I’m not sure they will be alive in the next few days. I would like to ask the court to be merciful and grant them temporary release, so they can get treatment,” the distressed father said.

He said this upcoming bail request would be the third one after the last two were rejected.

“If the court grants temporary release, I will ensure that my daughter is not involved in politics anymore. I will force her to spend her life as an ordinary youngster and continue her study,” he promised.

Often dubbed “Tawan Thaluwang” for the name of her anti-monarchy group, Tantawan was accused of sedition, breaking the Computer Crime Act, and causing public disturbance in connection with an incident early this month. She had been charged twice with lese majeste in 2022.

On February 4, a car in which Tantawan was travelling chased the motorcade of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on a Bangkok expressway.

Natthanon, who was behind the wheel, had earlier honked continuously while the motorcade was passing. He faces the same three charges as Tantawan, plus insulting an on-duty official and sounding his horn without proper reason.

When police blocked the car from joining the motorcade, Tantawan, the front-seat passenger, engaged in a heated argument with an on-duty police officer. She questioned the “preferential treatment” given to certain vehicles, saying it disrupted potentially urgent trips by members of the public. She also broadcast the argument live on Facebook.

Her father Sommai said on Saturday that both Tantawan and Natthanon had just returned from the funeral of a fellow political activist when they coincidentally ran into the royal motorcade.

“It was not intentional. They didn’t plan to interrupt the royal motorcade. It’s impossible that they would know the motorcade’s route beforehand. Also, it is unlikely that their car would catch up with the speeding royal motorcade,” Sommai said.

He admitted that both young activists had used “inappropriate behaviour and speech” with on-duty officers. However, he said the charges against them were “too harsh” as he did not think the duo would have posed any serious threat to the royal motorcade on that day.