Don't mix death and politics, reds told


A coffin carrying the body of Ampon Tangnoppakul, widely known as Ah Kong, is placed in front of the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road by red shirt supporters as a gesture of protest against the court. Ampon, who was jailed for lese majeste, was denied bail eight times before he died in prison on Tuesday. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

By Terry Fredrickson

Red shirt supporters have been warned against exploiting the death of convicted lese majeste prisoner Ampon Tangnoppakul for political gain.

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Reds told not to exploit Ampon's death

Lese majeste convict's coffin placed at court

Nattaya Chetchotiros,
Manop Thip-Osod
Achara Ashayagachat

Red shirt supporters have been warned against exploiting the death of convicted lese majeste prisoner Ampon Tangnoppakul for political gain.

They yesterday placed the coffin carrying his body outside the Criminal Court to protest against the court's verdict sentencing him to 20 years in jail. Funeral rites were performed outside the court.

Ampon, widely known as Ah Kong, died in prison on Tuesday after being denied bail eight times.

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. He was dubbed "Uncle SMS" as a result of the case.

The messages were sent to Somkiat Krongwattanasuk, secretary to then prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, in May 2010.

Criminal Court chief justice Thawee Prachuablarp said the court, which was closed yesterday because of the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, would open for business today and red shirt supporters must remove the coffin immediately. Their actions could lead to disorder outside the court and could also backfire on the government, Mr Thawee said.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the death of Ampon must not be exploited for political gain.

He said the government was duty-bound to explain what happened to Ampon as he was in the custodial care of the Corrections Department under the supervision of the government.

Even some red shirts disagreed with any moves to exploit Ampon's death.

Somsak Jiamthirasakul, a lecturer at Thammasat University's faculty of liberal arts, said on his Facebook page that the move by red shirts to use Ampon's death as a political tool was unacceptable.

He said some red shirt core members, who are now part of the government, had been selfish and stopped caring about Ampon since he was sent to jail.

However, United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) chairwoman Tida Tawornseth rejected criticism that the group had exploited Ampon's death.

The protest did not represent the UDD as a whole but was a show of frustration by activists seeking an amendment to Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, she said.

Ms Tida stressed that amending the constitution remains the UDD's priority.

She said Ampon's death should set in motion a process to review legal proceedings including the granting of bail and medical treatment for inmates.

"The problem is not about where the coffin lies, but that the judicial process needs a major overhaul to ensure justice," she said.

Rosmalin Tangnoppakul, Ampon's widow, said the coffin would be moved today from the Criminal Court to Government House and parliament before being taken to Wat Dan Samrong in Samut Prakan for funeral rites.

After an autopsy at the Police General Hospital yesterday, forensic experts confirmed Ampon died from liver cancer.

The autopsy was conducted by a committee chaired by the deputy director of the hospital, Pol Maj Gen Narongsak Saowakhon, with two other doctors.

Witnesses at the procedure included Pheu Thai Party list-MP Cherdchai Tontisirin and Dr Pongsak Phusitsakul and Dr Kittipum Jutasamit, from Sanamchan and Phusing hospitals respectively.

Mr Cherdchai said the autopsy showed cancerous cells in Ampon's liver had spread to other organs including his intestines and right lung, believed to be the main cause of his death. The complete results should be known in two weeks.

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Vocabulary

    coffin – a box in which a dead body is buried or cremated โลงศพ
    gesture – something that you do or say to show a particular feeling or intention ท่าที
    protest – a strong complaint or disagreement การประท้วง
    lese majeste – the crime of offending, threatening or showing disrespect for a member of the royal family หมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพ
    bail – money that is given to a court when someone is allowed to stay out of prison until their trial. If they do not return for the trial, the court keeps the money  เงินประกัน; การประกันตัว (
    deny bail – (of a court) to refuse to allow someone to go free on bail ไม่ให้ประกันตัว
    exploit – to use for your own benefit หาประโยชน์จาก
    convict – someone who is or has been in prison because they have committed a crime นักโทษ, ผู้ที่ถูกตัดสินว่ามีความผิด
    convicted – having been proven guilty of a crime by a court of law ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิดจริง
    gain – a benefit, or an advantage ผลประโยชน์
    verdict – a decision by a court of law คำพิพากษา
    sentence – (of a court of law) to give a punishment ลงโทษ
    funeral – a ceremony that takes place after someone dies งานศพ
    rite – a traditional ceremony, especially a religious one พิธีกรรม (พระราชพิธี)
    find guilty – to prove in a court of law that someone has committed a crime พิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิด
    count – each crime someone is accused of  คดี
    violate – to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด
    Act – a law passed by a country’s government พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
    deemed – considered เห็นว่า ถือว่า
    defamation (adjective form: defamatory) – the offence of writing or saying something bad about someone that is not true and makes people have a bad opinion of them การใส่ร้าย
    dubbed – called; given a name ถูกเรียก ตั้งฉายา
    justice – a judge in a court ผู้พิพากษา
    Royal Ploughing Ceremony – a ceremony begun in the Sukhothai period 700 years ago to mark the beginning of the traditional rice planting season and boost the morale of farmers พระราชพิธีพืชมงคลจรดพระนังคัลแรกนาขวัญ
    immediately – happening right after something else with no delay; right away ทันที
    disorder – a situation in which people behave in a noisy or violent way in public, often as a protest against something ความวุ่นวาย
    backfire – to have the opposite effect or result than the one you intended  ส่งผลตรงข้ามกับที่หวังไว้
    duty-bound – required by your job or assignment ขอบข่ายหน้าที่หรืองานที่ได้รับมอบหมาย
    custodial care – having the duty of taking care of somebody  responsibility ความรับผิดชอบในการคุ้มครอง
    Corrections Department – the government department in charge of running prisons กรมราชทัณฑ์
    supervision – the process of making sure that something is being done properly  การควบคุมดูแล การตรวจตรา
    faculty – a group of departments in a college which specialise in a particular subject or group of subjects คณะ
    liberal arts – subjects of study that develop students' general knowledge and ability to think, rather than their technical skills ศิลปศาสตร์
    core member – one of the most active or most important members of a group แกนนำ
    selfish – caring only about yourself rather than about other people  เห็นแก่ตัว
    United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) – the group originally formed to demonstrate against the 2006 coup and which supported the Somchai Wongsawat government against the PAD and which led the fight against the Abhisit government. They are known for wearing red shirts แนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาต
    reject – to not agree with ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
    criticism – comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad การวิจารณ์
    frustration – an annoyed or discouraged feeling because you cannot do or have what you want ความผิดหวัง,  ความไม่พอใจ
    activist – someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation นักกิจกรรม
    amendment – a change made to a law or agreement การแก้ไข
    Criminal Code – the systems of laws dealing with crimes and their punishment ประมวลกฎหมายอาญา
    stress – to emphasise something; to say that something is important เน้นย้ำ
    constitution – the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by รัฐธรรมนูญ
    priority – something important that needs to be done first or needs more attention than anything else สิ่งที่สำคัญที่สุดเป็นอันดับแรก
    set in motion – to begin something; to start a process เริ่ม, เริ่มต้น
    process – a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
    legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
    proceedings – the actions taken, usually in court, to settle a legal matter  การดำเนินการ
    grant – to officially give something  ให้
    inmate – someone who is kept in a prison, mental hospital or other institution นักโทษ
    judicial process – the actions taken, usually in court, to settle a legal matter  การดำเนินการคดี
    overhaul – to improve something so that every part of it works properly ปรับปรุงใหม่
    ensure – to make certain that something happens or is done  ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
    justice – a fair result or punishment from a court of law ความยุติธรรม
    widow – a woman whose husband has died and who has not married again  แม่ม่าย
    autopsy – a medical examination of a dead person’s body to find out why they died การชันสูตรศพ
    forensic – relating to the use of scientific methods to solve  crimes or to find out why something happened เกี่ยวกับนิติวิทยาศาสตร์
    liver – a large organ in the body that cleans the blood and produces bile  ตับ
    conduct – to do something in an organised way; to carry out — ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
    deputy – a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง
    witness – a person who sees something happen พยาน
    procedure – a way of doing something  ขั้นตอนการดำเนินการ
    (party) list – a system that gives each party in an election a number of seats in relation to the number of votes its candidates receive ระบบสัดส่วน, ระบบปาร์ตี้ลิสต์
    respectively – in the order in which they were mentioned ตามลำดับ
    spread – to gradually affect or cover a larger area แพร่กระจาย
    organ – a part of the body that has a particular purpose, such as the heart or the brain  อวัยวะ
    intestine – the long tube in your body that processes food and carries waste out of your body ลำไส้
    lung – one of the two organs in your chest that fill with air when you breathe ปอด