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Thai prison COVID outbreaks prompt early-parole contingency

Rights group observes situation with eye on treatment of political detainees

Klongprem Central Prison in Bangkok. A Facebook post by supporters of an imprisoned prodemocracy activist is forcing Thai authorities to confront the COVID outbreaks ripping through their overcrowded prisons.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thai law-enforcement officials are considering early parole as a way to stem the COVID-19 outbreaks in the country's notoriously jam-packed prisons if current rapid inoculation efforts fail to control the situation, but it is not known if last year's pro-democracy protesters and other political prisoners will be given access to any such program.

Along with construction worker campsites and factories, Thai prisons are giving rise to viral clusters as a third wave of the pandemic roils the country. Of 107,563 cases reported since March 23, 16,153, or 15%, are among convicts and pretrial detainees. 882 inmates tested positive on Tuesday.

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