The Appeals Court has rejected Amphon Tangnoppakul’s bail request, saying that it ‘does not believe that the defendant will not flee.’ The public prosecutor has been granted yet another month to appeal Joe Gordon’s case.
According to Amphon’s lawyer Phunsuk Phunsukcharoen, on 22 Feb the Appeals Court refused to grant her client temporary release for the second time after he was given a sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for lèse majesté late last year. The bail was sought this time with guarantees from 7 university academics, and cash from the Ministry of Justice’s Rights and Liberty Protection Department, worth two million baht in total.
On 19 Feb, Rosmalin, Amphon’s wife, joined a hunger strike with other activists for 24 hours in front of the Criminal Court, together with Tam Phuchaisang, the mother of Suraphak, a website developer who was arrested in September last year and has been detained since without bail for Facebook posts. Rosmalin said that if her husband’s bail was granted, she would take him to Luang Pho To Temple to give 400 boiled eggs to fulfil her vow.
The lawyer said that the defence team would submit another bail request to the Supreme Court next week.
In rejecting the bail request, the Appeals Court said that it considered that the charges against the defendant were severe and ‘the defendant’s arguments against the verdict of the Court of First Instance do not have the credibility to believe that the defendant did not commit the crimes. If [the defendant is] granted temporary release, [the Appeals Court] has no reason to believe that the defendant will not flee. The illness which the defendant claims [as one of the reasons for the bail] does not appear to be life-threatening. Given that government medical facilities are already available for the treatment of the defendant, [the Appeals Court] refuses temporary release for the defendant during the appeal.’
In the Joe Gordon case, lawyer Anon Nampha said that the public prosecutor had requested and been granted by the court renewal of a one-month extension to appeal the case until 8 March, the third time since he was sentenced to two years and a half in jail on 8 November last year.
This extension, in effect, means that his case is not finalized. He has to remain in prison, unable to seek a royal pardon.
According to the lawyer, the public prosecutor can ask the court to extend the period for appeal indefinitely.
According to a close friend of Joe Gordon, Joe felt that he was subject to persecution, being locked in jail for a lengthy period time and not allowed to seek a royal pardon, despite the fact that he had already confessed.
It was reported that the US Embassy had regularly visited Joe and closely followed his case.