Why did the court not grant Uncle SMS bail?-Bangkok Pundit
May 15, 2012
Bangkok Pundit: May 11, 2012
The below is from BP’s post the other day.
Prachatai has more details on that:
According to the lawyer, Ampon has been suffering from stomachache for months, but he was first transferred to hospital around noon last Friday and was admitted around 3.40 pm. He did not immediately receive diagnosis as the hospital lab was closed on weekend. His blood was taken for testing on Monday, but before the results were made known, he passed away around 9.10 am today.
“If Ampon was granted bail and could go see doctor regularly, such incident might not have happened” said the lawyer. Prior to this, Ampon has just had operation for oral cancer.
BP: Am unsure of the exact prognosis of his cancer and we don’t know exactly what caused his death, but his lawyer is very likely correct when he says his condition would have been better on the outside. And the rationale for no bail again was? That the hospital lab was closed on the weekend shows you that they don’t have the facilities to treat people properly. Yes, public healthcare in Thailand is far from perfect, but it is even worse in the Thai prison system (despite the Klong Prem facility having a hospital).
The Bangkok Post:
The chief justice of the Criminal Court has explained the reason why lese majeste inmate Ampon Tangnoppakul, who died on Tuesday, was denied bail.
Thawee Prachuablarp said yesterday that after the Criminal Court delivered its verdict against Ampon, his lawyer appealed for bail release on the grounds of his ill health.
While the Appeal Court was considering his bail appeal, his lawyer also lodged an appeal for bail release directly with the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal on March 15, Mr Thawee said.
Mr Thawee said Ampon’s lawyer decided to halt the appeal process in the Appeal Court on April 3 and instead ask for a royal pardon for his client. The process of seeking a royal pardon can begin only after a case is finalised.
Mr Thawee explained that since the lawyer stopped the appeal process, Ampon’s right to bail had been forfeited.
BP: Because the lawyers decided to withdraw the request and try for a royal pardon explains why no recent grant of bail, but that doesn’t explain the 8 previous refusals to grant bail.
Sanitsuda Ekachai in the Bangkok Post:
After eight failed attempts to obtain bail on lese majeste charges, 62-year-old Ampon Tangnoppakul, or Ah Kong, finally won his freedom when he was no longer breathing, his body stiff and cold.
Ah Kong, meaning grandpa, had cancer and could not possibly jump bail because he was too sick, too poor, and too attached to his grandchildren.
He also needed to see his doctor regularly because of his illness. Yet the court repeatedly turned down his bail requests, arguing the severity of the lese majeste charge might make him jump bail, and that his illness was not an issue because he could get medical care at the prison hospital.
Despite his denial and public doubts over an old man’s ability to navigate difficult text message buttons on the phone, the court believed he was guilty and sentenced him to 20 years in jail.
His spirit crushed by repeated bail refusals and no prospect of freedom due to the atrociously lengthy court procedures, he eventually decided to give up the legal fight, and opted to seek a royal pardon instead. He had high hopes of reuniting with his family until the fatal stomach pain struck.
Also, why can’t we see that securing bail is a legal right when the grounds for bail requests are justifiable?
With Ah Kong’s illness and inability to flee, the court’s decision to deny him bail came across as heartless.
btw, this Prachatai article has all the details (in Thai) of the bail applications.