Thaksin’s lese majeste case ‘may affect amnesty move in political cases’

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2024

Move Forward Party leader Chaithawat Tulathon on Thursday conceded that a lese majeste case against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra could affect the ongoing efforts to seek a general amnesty for political detainees and other lese majeste suspects.

Chaithawat was speaking to reporters after attending a meeting of a special House committee studying how to draft a bill to grant political amnesty.

Chaithawat said the meeting on Thursday did not focus on lese majeste cases or cases of violations of Article 112 of the Criminal Code.

He said the meeting instead discussed the mechanism to push for political amnesty.

“We must admit the fact that Thaksin would face an indictment for violation of Article 112 and that would affect the deliberation for amnesty for other Article 112 cases,” Chaithawat said.

The attempt by the Yingluck Shinawatra government to push for general amnesty in political cases, including for Thaksin, led to months-long street protests led by former Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban. The protests led to violence and confrontations between the two sides, and paved the way for the 2014 coup by then Army chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

“We didn’t discuss Thaksin’s case during the meeting but I think it would create more obstacles,” Chaithawat said.

The attorney-general has ordered Thaksin to be charged with violating Article 112 and the computer crimes act for his alleged remarks in an interview to a South Korea media back in 2015.

Thaksin had allegedly claimed that the country’s privy councillors had supported the 2014 coup staged by General Prayut Chan-o-cha to oust the government of his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The attorney-general ordered Thaksin to report to public prosecutors on June 18 to be charged in court.

Chaithawat said he hoped Thaksin would be treated with the same standard as other Article 112 suspects.

But he was quick to add that he did not want to see Thaksin prosecuted using Article 112 and hoped that both Thaksin and other Article 112 suspects receive a fair trial and get the right to be released on bail during trial.

On the study by the ad hoc House panel to push for political amnesty, Chaithawat said the method for drafting the bill would go into the details, which would include the timeframe, the process, the method and criteria for those eligible for amnesty.

He said the details would be concluded on Friday after which the ad hoc House panel would meet every week until a final report was finalized and submitted to the House.

He said the report would be done in time for the next parliamentary session in July.