Rule of law agency wants amnesty bill
The Independent National Rule of Law Commission has called on the government to grant an amnesty to political protesters imprisoned between September 2006 and May 2010.
The amnesty proposal would apply to protesters arrested during the period between the 2006 coup and rallies organised by the red-shirt movement, commission chairman Ukrit Mongkolnavin said yesterday.
He said the amnesty, if granted, should be a legislative bill so the Parliament could scrutinise the draft provisions.
Under the commission's proposal, legal absolution should be granted unconditionally to all protesters, except rally organisers and state officials in charge of keeping peace at the rallies.
The commission has forwarded its six-provision draft bill on an amnesty so the government can vet it and asked for legislative deliberation on the issue.
Ukrit said politicians and rally organisers should, as a gesture of goodwill, declare their intention to not avail themselves of an amnesty in order to quell any suspicion of them having an ulterior motive.
He called on the government to make the bill a priority, so the legislative process can completed and the bill enacted this session.
Pheu Thai MP and red-shirt leader weng Tojirakarn said he was happy to draw support from the red-shirt leaders to show that they would not avail themselves of the amnesty. But he still preferred the red-shirts' version, in the form of an executive decree.
Senator Wanchai Sornsiri, however, said he doubted if the government would have sufficient votes in the Senate to fast-track the bill. "In my opinion, all controversial draft laws should undergo the normal procedure in order to allow full scrutiny," he said.
Wanchai said he supported the idea of granting an amnesty, but he feared there may be a hidden agenda to absolve those convicted for lese majeste and graft.
Pheu Thai MP Phiraphan Phalusuk said coalition and opposition lawmakers should hold an informal talk in order to reach a common stand before debating the issue.