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Thai MP Abhisit seeks clarity on amnesty efforts
Publication Date : 31-01-2013
The Thai government should specify the groups and individuals entitled to amnesty in order to give a clear idea of what the legal absolution would entail, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.
"The amnesty is part of the reconciliation process but without clear guidelines, the amnesty debate can deepen the conflict," he said.
Abhisit said the Democrats did not oppose the absolution of violations committed due to political belief, although they wanted a clear classification of those qualified for amnesty.
He said he doubted whether cases involving assailants, such as the ones who had fired M-79 grenades into crowds and government installations, should be included in the amnesty review.
A hasty move to grant amnesty might set bad precedents on law enforcement, he added.
Future rally organisers might encourage violence in the hope of securing amnesty and offenders would cite political belief to justify their crimes, the former prime minister said.
He urged the government to show its goodwill by withdrawing the four coalition-sponsored draft bills on reconciliation.
If the bills were to be dropped, this would give a fresh start to frame the amnesty debate without animosity and suspicion between the coalition and the opposition, he said.
The draft provisions have the ulterior motive of rescuing fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra and the coalition is using bullying tactics to try and silence the opposition, he maintained.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Sukampol Suwannathat said he could not comment on the amnesty push by the January 29 faction of the red-shirt movement. The government has designated agencies to review the faction's call for amnesty and would give its reply in due course, he said.
House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said if all sides would take part in a dialogue on how best to implement an amnesty, then this would be a good start to settling the political conflict.
He said the government should take the lead role to involve all sides in the amnesty debate.