Insomnia, low appetite, and fluctuating emotions are among the symptoms for which the detainees are facing. The 4 main causes of stress are related to the well-being of their families, their education, their work, and prison conditions – all of which are the result of being detained, after the court denied them bails.
1) The well-being of their families
Partners of Polphon and Natthapon are pregnant. The two detainees are worried that their partners are alone. Almost all of the detainees are the primary source of income for their families. Most of them need to continue paying rent and car loan, for example. As they are being detained, they are concerned that these responsibilities will fall upon their relatives, who are already burdened by other matters.
2) Their education
3 out of 11 detainees, Watcharaphon, Baiboon, and Rock, are students. Currently, their classes have already started, and they are concerned that they would be expel from schools, or they may be held back, completing school at least a year later. This is particularly the case of Rock, whose school is scheduling the final exams next week (4-8 July 2022). Rock is very anxious and cried with his lawyer every time he talks about school.
3) Their work
As many of the detainees have jobs, they now fear that they could be fired. They understand that when there is a shortage of staff, any employers would try to find new recruits. Most of them are labour workers, working without formal contracts, and therefore, they could be fired anytime without prior notice or compensations. Moreover, most employers have a work regulation for which an employee can be fined if they do not give notice for any day offs. The amount of fine is set by employers. Since the economy is in recession, they feel that if they are out of jobs, it would be difficult for them to find a new job.
4) Prison conditions
Basic welfare in prison and alleged discrimination by prison personnel are some of the factors that cause stress and pressure to the detainees. For example, drinking water provided in prison is not up to standard. The detainees found that the water contains high level of chlorine which they can smell. Sometimes, mosquito larvae and sediment can also be found in drinking water. There is no book or television provided in their cells – the two things that reduce their stress. Even though they have requested for these, they receive no reply.
Meanwhile, a detainee is detained separately from the others. He is under the pressure from being specifically singled out by prison personnel. He has been punished disproportionally.
All of the detainees agree that the quality of food in prison is not up to standard. Sometimes, the meats are undercook. Most of the time, there is no protein in their food.
📌📌Mental Health Crisis📌📌
Due to stress, pressure, and anxiety from the aforementioned causes, the Talu Gas detainees are under distress and depression:
📌Daily Lives Affected📌
The detainees suffer from insomnia, low appetite, weight loss, and weakness. Mentally, they are irritable, depressed, and unhappy. They feel hopeless and have suicidal thoughts, while at the same time trying to find a way to cope with the stress.
📌Protesting the Justice System📌
Stress and anxiety caused by the denied bail request, coupling with the effects to their lives and mental health, have led them to react in certain ways to protest against the justice system particularly their pre-trial detention and denied bail requests.
- ⚠ Slitting their arms ⚠
On 25 June 2022, Baiboon and Puttinpong slitted their arms to protest the court. They used the sharp lids of canned fish lids to cut their arms more than 10 times. Both have now received basic treatment. Following the incident, the correctional institution issued a new regulation prohibiting bringing sharp objects and canned food into prison cells. Canned food can only be taken downstairs and under prison guard surveillance.
Meanwhile, on 27 June 2022, Nustee Thongplad, Commander of Bangkok Remind Prison gave media interview regarding the incident, stating that the wounds are not serious, look as if they were only scratched by tree thorns. However, TLHR lawyer found that this is not the case. During the visit of the lawyer, there are more than 10 cuts, and the wounds are quite deep, especially those on Puttiphong. However, they do not require stitches. The detainees stated that there was a lot of blood, and so the other detainees informed the guard so that could be treated quickly.
On 28 June 2022, the Facebook page of the Correctional Institution released a statement, stating that the detainees slit their arms because they were stressed as their lawyer did not visit them. For this, Baiboon informed TLHR that he and his friends were stressed because the lawyer did not visit them. However, after the first lawyer visit on 24 June, they found out that the court denied bails for 5 detainees for the second time, and so the reason for them slitting their arms was not because the lawyer did not visit them, but due to the denied bail requests.
- ⚠ Hunger Strike ⚠
Theerawit has been on a hunger strike since 18 June 2022, after one day of his detention. He has been surviving with only water and electrolyte drinks. It has been more than 10 days and he is weaker and weaker. He has no energy to walk and can only crawl. After finding out that he has tested positive for Covid on 27 June 2022, he was detained separately and now he was sent to the Correctional Hospital. TLHR lawyer therefore cannot visit him, and does not know his conditions since.
- ⚠ Suicide ⚠
Polphon decided to kill himself by taking over 64 paracetamol pills on 24 June 2022. He is currently under treatment at the Medical Correctional Institution. By taking too many pills, he is suffering from nephritis. He needs to stay at the hospital for another 7-10 days (since 28 June 2022).
Read more on Thalu Gas group health condition:
“I am innocent” Polphon’s interview after attempted suicide to protest his pre-trial detention
Thalu Gas group member attempted suicide in prison cell by swallowing over 60 paracetamol pills
Department of Correction’s response on the attempted suicide in prison