Abhisit’s Final Insult to Ah Kong
Opposition leader Mark Abhisit Vejjajiva has responded to the tragic death of lese majeste victim Mr. Amphol Tangnoppakul (“Ah Kong”) with one of his trademark Orwellian statements. Before warning mourners not to “exploit” Mr. Amphon’s death by “turning it into a political issue,” Mark Abhisit asked that the government, in the interest of “justice,” provide a full explanation of what led to Mr. Amphol’s sudden passing. We do not speak for the government, but the facts that might allow Mark Abhisit to reconstruct Mr. Amphol’s death are in the public domain.
“Ah Kong,” a sixty-one-year old cancer-stricken man, was arrested in the summer of 2010 as part of the lese majeste witch-hunt initiated by Mark Abhisit’s government. According to experts, the year 2010 saw a three-fold increase in the number of lese majeste cases reaching the lower courts from the previous year, which had itself shattered earlier records. The criminal complaint against Ah Kong was initiated by none other than Mark Abhisit’s personal secretary, who reported the content of four SMS messages he received on his mobile phone. Naturally, Mark Abhisit claims to have known nothing about it, but his history of lies and distortions calls his credibility into serious question.
Following his arrest, Mr. Amphol was subjected to a horrifying array of violations to his basic human rights: two months in detention without charge, repeated rejections of bail requests while awaiting trial, denial of proper medical treatment, and finally a grotesque twenty-year prison sentence handed down in late 2011, at the conclusion of a process that required the defendant to prove his innocence, instead of placing the burden on the prosecutor to establish his guilt. Even the presiding judge admitted the evidence was not conclusive, but that did not stop him from sentencing Ah Kong to die in prison.
Given the appalling prison conditions for which Thailand is infamous, it is no surprise that Mr. Amphol’s cancer was allowed to spread without proper monitoring or treatment. Detainees generally, and political prisoners in particular, are frequently denied the medical care they need while in custody. As recently as February 2012, the Appeals Court reasoned that Mr. Amphol’s health condition was not serious enough to warrant bail.
The death of Mr. Amphol is a continuation of the policy of terror against the Thai people enacted by Mark Abhisit Vejjajiva’s previous Democrat Party regime that began with 1000s of troops on the street of Bangkok in 2009, the use of army snipers against unarmed civilians in 2010 and the abuse of Article 112 for political gain. The use of 112 was systematically ramped up by the Democrat’s and Mark Abhisit and this has included demagoguing the issue to prevent the law from being reformed in any way. If Mark Abhisit wants to find out who is responsible for Mr. Amphol’s death, he ought to start with himself and his patrons in the military.
Mark Abhisit Vejjajiva may not appreciate it, but confronting the Thai public with evidence of the barbarity of his own actions is not an “exploitation” of Mr. Amphol’s death. It is rather the only way to make sure that Ah Kong did not die for nothing, and to help save the lives of others who have been victimized by Article 112. Ah Kong’s tragic death does not need to be “turned into a political issue.” Ah Kong’s death is a political issue—a symbol of everything that is rotten and backward and inhuman about the political establishment to which Mark Abhisit Vejjajiva has sold his soul.