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Former councillor gets life for slaying of landfill protest leader

THE SUPREME COURT yesterday meted out a life sentence to a former councillor of the Tambon Racha-thewa Administrative Organisation for the slaying of a man who led protests against the Rachathewa landfill in Samut Prakan province.

Somyut Phumpakdee was found guilty of taking out a contract on Suwat Wongpitasathit, who was shot dead in 2001.

Lower courts issued a death sentence to Somyut, and life imprisonment to three of his accomplices. But Somyut appealed against those verdicts.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court decided to commute Somyut's sentence to just life imprisonment on the grounds that he confessed to the crime during the interrogation process and his statement proved useful to the prosecution.

He did not show any emotion when the court read out its verdict yesterday.

Suwat's widow, sons, and other relatives were present during the verdict-reading session.

"I respect the law," the victim's widow Thiranuch Wanapho said after hearing the final ruling.

She said that although Somyut had neither shown repentance nor offered an apology, she was not vengeful.

"He has been behind bars for more than 10 years already. He's paying for the wrong he has done," she said.

The families of both Suwat and Somyut continue to live in tambon Rachathewa, Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan.




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