Thailand's amnesty bill 'unconstitutional'

Thailand's amnesty bill 'unconstitutional'

THAILAND - A group of legal experts going under the name Nitirat Group voiced their opposition to the amnesty bill yesterday, saying the version undergoing a second reading in the House went against the original bill, parliamentary regulations and was unconstitutional.

The group also advised the House to dismiss the current draft and set up a new committee to review the original draft.

Group member Worachet Pakeerut, from Thammasat University's Faculty of Law, said in a statement that the current draft, which covers all state officials and leaders involved in political protests was not fair to the people killed in the 2010 crackdown.

The bill also goes against the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as it allows state officials and political manipulators off the hook, he said.

"If the bill is passed into law, it would allow state agencies to crack down on all people's movements without having to take any responsibility," Worachet said.

The original bill, proposed by ruling-Pheu Thai Party MP Worachai Hema, only grants amnesty to ordinary citizens who face charges for participating in political protests or expressing their views. The first draft does not include state agencies, politicians and protest leaders. Its main aim was to free protesters who are in prison for merely joining a rally or expressing their political opinions.

The new draft proposed by Pheu Thai member Prayuth Siripanich, who was a member of the Lower House subcommittee tasked with studying the bill, covers all parties involved, including leaders such as former premiers Thaksin Shinawatra and Abhisit Vejjajiva for their role in manipulating the protest and the subsequent crackdown.

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