Just an ordinary guy
- Published: 28/11/2011 at 11:59 AM
- Online news:
Ampon Tangnappakul, sentenced to 20 years for insulting the monarchy, is just an ordinary man and loyal to the King, says his wife Rosmalin
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Ampon case puts Thai human rights in spotlight
Like other poor working-class people, Ampon Tangnoppakul has struggled since his childhood. His mundane life was under the spotlight last week after he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sending mobile text messages deemed insulting to the royal institution.
His wife, Rosmalin, said over the weekend she still could not believe her husband's fate was real.
She insisted her husband was loyal to the monarchy and he had told the court so during the trial.
Mrs Rosmalin also said her husband had no strong political leanings that could motivate him to send four short messages to former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's personal secretary Somkiat Klongwattanasak in May last year.
"He is just interested in things, like other folks. Wherever people flock, he will try to see what happens too. He used to attend both the yellow-shirt and the red-shirt rallies. At times, when Falungong [China's outlawed spiritual Buddhist sect] spoke in public, he also listened to them and brought pamphlets back home.
"But he never joined or became a member of any group," she insisted.
She recalled how she met Ampon, a native of Samut Prakan's Bang Bo district, in Chon Buri's Phan Thong district. Ampon was born to a Chinese family and was the third of seven children.
A daughter of a low-rank soldier stationed at Chon Buri's Navamintarajini Military Camp, Mrs Rosmalin said she and her husband worked at the same sawmill when they met.
She had a job in checking wooden planks while Ampon, whose Chinese name is Songpor, was helping in trading and driving wood trucks.
"Ar Por [as he was called then] is a clean and gentle man, not quite sociable but hard-working. We were married when he was 19 and I was 17," Mrs Rosmalin said.
Songpor and Rosmalin quit their jobs in Chon Buri and moved back to Samut Prakan, not far from his parents' house, when the couple had their third daughter in 1970. They had two sons and five daughters altogether.
Songpor was doing odds and ends while Rosmalin was hawking. Over a decade ago, around the time of the death of his Chinese father, Songpor adopted a Thai surname name, Tangnoppakul.
She said Ampon stopped going out to work several years ago and stayed home to take care of five grandchildren.
"Also, because he has developed cancerous cells at the tip of the tongue, he had to spend time visiting hospital in Samrong and then Rajvithi along with babysitting the grandchildren – the youngest one is five years old," she said.
Mrs Rosmalin recalled how a dozen police officers raided their rented house in Soi Wat Dansamrong on Aug 3 last year and arrested him.
"The police asked for all the mobile phones. We just could not remember where we kept the keys for the cupboards in the house. We tried to force them open but the police then said they had got what they wanted," she said.
Ampon, later referred to by those who followed his case as Ar Gong (elderly), was held for 63 days before being given a bail release on Oct 4 last year.
He was then formally charged by the prosecutor on Jan 18 for violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crimes Act, and has been incarcerated since then.
The court denied bail for him on the basis of the gravity of his crime and the possibility of flight. His trial took place on Sept 23, and Sept 27-30.
From the beginning, Ampon maintained his innocence, noting that he did not know how to send SMS messages and the phone number from which the messages were sent was not his.
But prosecution witnesses demonstrated to the court that the International Mobile Equipment Identity number of the cell phone from which the messages were sent belonged to Ampon.
The Nov 23 verdict has prompted a call by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (ARHC) and Thai cyber users for a reversal of his sentence since Ampon is suffering from laryngeal cancer and is unlikely to be properly treated behind bars.
"Ampon Tangnoppakul has been sentenced to the longest period in prison to date for alleged violations of Article 112 and the Computer Crimes Act. Given the weak nature of the evidence deployed against him, and the extenuating circumstances of health and age, this case indicates human rights are in deep crisis in Thailand," AHRC said.
human rights – the basic rights which it is generally considered all people should have, such as justice and the freedom to say what you think สิทธิมนุษยชน
struggle – to try hard to do something that you find very difficult พยายาม
mundane - very ordinary ปกติ, ธรรมดา
spotlight – the centre of public attention จุดสนใจของผู้คน, เป็นที่สนใจ
sentence – (of a court of law) to give a punishment ลงโทษ
deem – to consider เห็นว่า ถือว่า
insult – to say or do something to someone that is rude or offensive พูดแดกดัน, พูดจาบจ้วง
royal institution (higher institution) – the monarchy ระบอบประชาธิปไตยอันมีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข
fate – the things that happen or will happen to someone ชะตากรรม
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
loyal – willing to support, work for, or be a friend to someone, even in difficult times จงรักภักดี ซื่อสัตย์
monarchy – a type of government in which a country is ruled by a king or queen การปกครองที่มีพระมหากษัตริย์เป็นประมุข
trial – the process of examining a case in a court of law and deciding whether someone has or has not committed a crime การพิจารณาคดี
leaning – a tendency to prefer something or to believe in particular ideas, opinions, etc. การเอนเอียง
motivate – to cause to (want to) do something ทำให้มีแรงจูงใจ
flock – to go someone in large numbers; to gather together in large numbers แห่กันไป
rally – a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something การชุมนุม
outlawed – illegal ผิดกฎหมาย
spiritual – religious, or related to religious issues เกี่ยวกับศาสนา
sect – a small group of people who belong to a particular religion but who have some beliefs or practices which separate them from the rest of the group นิกาย (ทางศาสนา),กลุ่ม, พรรค
pamphlet – a very thin book with a paper cover, usually given free to people แผ่นพับ
recall – to remember จำได้ นึกทบทวน
native – someone who was born in a particular place ชาวพื้นเมือง
rank – someone’s official position in the armed forces, police, fire services, etc. ยศ, ตำแหน่ง
station – to cause, especially soldiers, to be in a particular place to do a job ตั้งฐานปฎิบัติการ,ตั้งประจำ
sawmill – a factory in which wood is cut into boards using machinery โรงเลื่อยไม้
plank – a long narrow flat piece of wood or similar material, of the type used for making floors แผ่นกระดานสำหรับปูพื้น
gentle – not strong or extreme เบาๆ, ค่อยๆ
sociable – enjoying spending time with other people เข้ากับคนง่าย
odds and ends – small jobs
hawking – trying to sell things by going from place to place asking people to buy them เร่ขาย
decade – a period of ten years ทศวรรษ, ระยะเวลา 10 ปี
adopt – to accept or to start using something new นำมาใช้
surname – a name shared by all the members of a family (written last in English names) นามสกุล
cancerous – having cancer cells growing เป็นมะเร็ง
tongue – the soft part in the mouth that moves around, used for tasting, swallowing, speaking, etc ,ลิ้น
tip – the thin pointed end of something จุดปลายสุด
babysit – to take care of babies or children while their parents are away from home เลี้ยงเด็ก
raid – to forcefully and suddenly enter a place to catch criminals or to search for something like drugs or, in this case, fake passports ใช้กำลังเข้าค้นสถานที่หรือ จับกุมคนร้าย
rent – to pay money for the use of something for a period of time เช่า
arrest – (of the police) to take someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime จับกุม
cupboard – a piece of furniture with doors and shelves used for storing dishes, food, clothes, etc ตู้ถ้วยชาม,ตู้เสื้อผ้า, ตู้อาหาร
refer – to mention someone or something อ้างถึง, อ้างอิง
elderly – (of people) old สูงวัย, อาวุโส, อายุมาก
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
release – allowing someone to go free การปล่อยตัว
charge – to accuse someone officially of committing a crime ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา
prosecutor – a lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty อัยการ
violate – to do something that is against the law ละเมิดกฏหมาย
article – part of a legal document, agreement or law that deals with a particular point มาตรา
criminal code – the systems of laws dealing with crimes and their punishment ประมวลกฎหมายอาญา
Act – a law passed by a country’s government พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
incarcerated – kept in a prison ถูกขังคุก, ถูกจำคุก
deny bail – (of a court) to not to allow someone to go free on bail ไม่ให้ประกันตัว
basis – the important facts, ideas or events that support something; the reason why people take a particular action รากฐาน, หลักพื้นฐาน, หลัก
gravity – the seriousness or importance of something ความสำคัญ,ความจริงจัง
flight – trying to escape to avoid punishment
maintain – to insist; to keep stating that something is true, even though other people do not agree or do not believe it ยืนยัน, ยืนกราน
innocence – the condition of not having done anything wrong or illegal ความบริสุทธิ์
witness – someone who tells a court or investigators what they know about a crime พยาน
demonstrate – to show something and explain how it works สาธิต
verdict – a decision by a court of law คำพิพากษา
prompt – to cause someone to take action กระตุ้น
reverse – (of a decision) to change เปลี่ยนแปลง
suffer – to be badly affected by a very difficult or unpleasant situation ประสบความลำบาก
treat – to provide medical care รักษา
behind bars – in prison การจำคุก
alleged – claimed to be true although not yet proven ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
nature – the basic quality of feature of something ลักษณะที่แท้จริงของสิ่งต่างๆ, ธรรมชาติ
deploy – to use นำมาใช้
extenuating – showing reasons why a wrong or illegal act, or a bad situation, should be judged less seriously or excused เหตุขัดข้อง, เหตุบรรเทาโทษ
circumstances – facts or conditions that affect a situation เหตุการณ์แวดล้อม
indicate – to show that something is true, exists or will happen แสดง, ทำให้รู้
crisis – a situation that has reached and extremely difficult or dangerous point ช่วงวิกฤต
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager