The Asian Human Rights Commission has issued a statement on the death in custody of Ampol Tangnopakul, convicted of lese majeste. We do not present that statement in full, which is available here. Rather, some excerpts:
On the alleged crime and trial:
As the AHRC noted at the time of Amphon’s conviction (AHRC-STM-180-2011), the prosecution’s actions raised serious questions about the validity of evidence in cases of this sort, and pointed to lacunae in the 2007 Computer Crimes Act, which is in fact broad enough to cover all forms of electronic communication; not only those on computer. The prosecution argument rested on the assertion that the mobile phone that sent the four allegedly criminal SMS messages had the same IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identifying) number as the mobile phone which Amphon had used to call his children. Despite Amphon’s assertion that he did not send the SMS messages in question, and did not even know how to send an SMS message, the court sentenced him to a lengthy term in prison.
On the Thai justice system (PPT notes that there is no justice for lese majeste victims):
… Amphon Tangnoppakul’s death in custody raises an additional layer of questions and concerns about the Thai justice system. Amphon had been in detention since being formally charged on 18 January 2011. At the time he was charged, he was already suffering from oral cancer for which he had already been receiving regular treatment, and his counsel immediately requested bail while awaiting trial on this basis. The court denied this request, as it did seven subsequent requests made before his trial, at the time of his conviction, and up until several months before his death.
On the lese majeste law:
Finally, the AHRC wishes to underscore its insistence, set out in previous public statements, that the government of Thailand repeal section 112 of the Criminal Code….