Jailed Thai monarchy reform activist dies after hunger strike

A Thai activist who called for the royal defamation law to be amended has died after a months-long hunger strike in prison.

Netiporn Sanesangkhom, who was 28 years old, was initially indicted and imprisoned in 2022 for insulting the monarchy. She had conducted a public poll about the practice of shutting down roads for the royal motorcades.

Netiporn's lawyers say she began a hunger strike in January. They say she was briefly transferred to an outside hospital after falling ill, but that she was brought back to the jail last month.

Thai authorities say Netiporn had been accepting food since April, but that her condition worsened on Tuesday. They report that she was confirmed dead at a hospital.

In 2020, public rallies calling for the reform of the monarchy and a review of the royal defamation law spread in Thailand and continued through the following year.

But the protests faded after the authorities cracked down on them. Hardly any anti-monarchy demonstrations take place now.

Amnesty International Thailand has issued a statement. It says, "Speaking out should not lead to death."

The human rights organization urged "Thai authorities to release all human rights defenders and activists who are unjustly detained."