Judge tells why Ampon denied bail

May 10, 2012
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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.

Meanwhile, Kobkiat Kasiwiwat, deputy director-general of the Corrections Department, insisted all prisoners who were ill receive standard medical treatment at all prisons nationwide.

He was responding to an allegation by red shirt supporters that Ampon, who died of liver cancer, may not have been given adequate medical care in prison.

At prisons in Bangkok and other provinces, doctors and nurses are brought in to look after sick prisoners, Mr Kobkiat said.

As for large prisons such as the Bangkok Remand Prison, sick inmates are admitted to the Corrections Department Hospital staffed by specialists in various medical fields, Mr Kobkiat said.

He said Ampon had been well looked after and had been allowed to go out to receive chemotherapy at Rachvipa MRI Centre five times last year and twice this year.

On Nov 23 last year, Ampon was found guilty on four counts of violating the lese majeste law and the Computer Crime Act for sending four SMS messages deemed by the court as defamatory to the King and the Queen.

The messages were sent to Somkiat Krongwattanasuk, secretary to then prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, in May 2010. Ampon was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was denied bail eight times.

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