Activists demand change

national May 16, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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Members of the Activists for Democracy Network along with some 30 relatives of political prisoners gathered at Government House yesterday demanding that the prisoners be released and the lese majeste law be amended.

The rally was inspired by the death of Amphon “Akong” Tangnoppakul, who was serving a sentence for allegedly sending text messages deemed defamatory to the Queen. The activists called on the government to help make the country a real democracy and give people being held over lese majeste charges their dignity. They also called on the authorities to improve conditions in jail and provide proper health care for ailing prisoners. 

The network has joined the Nitirat Group and the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand in their call to amend Article 112 of the penal code. 
Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit, who is also interior minister and leader of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, said the government would consider the requests though it has already said that it would not touch the lese majeste law. 
Yongyuth’s statement was in line with Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit, who denied that the party had ever promised to amend Article 112 while campaigning for votes. 
“During the campaign, we only spoke about amending articles that came from the 2006 coup. Article 112 does not have anything to do with this,” Prompong said. 
He said when they used the word “justice” during the election campaign, they meant equal law enforcement, but Amphon’s case had to do with the court process and law enforcers. He said amending laws is a right guaranteed by the Constitution, but the majority must agree to it. 
“I personally agree with the law and see no need to change it,” he said. 

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