Natthawut lobbies PM on draft amnesty decree
Deputy Commerce Minister Natthawut Saikua yesterday sought support from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for the red-shirt movement's draft executive decree to grant amnesty to political demonstrators.Speaking to reporters after meeting Yingluck, Natthawut, a red-shirt leader, said he informed the prime minister of details of the draft executive decree of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship.
He said he would later submit the draft, which has four articles, to the prime minister so it could be forwarded to the Council of State for consideration.
Natthawut said he informed the prime minister that the decree would seek to absolve those detained or facing charges because of political conflict since the September 19, 2006 coup - but leaders of any side or group would not receive an amnesty under the decree.
He said he told Yingluck that after the public received the amnesty, it would be easier to hold talks on reconciliation because people would be relieved from the pain of crackdowns or persecution by authorities.
Natthawut said he informed the prime minister there were both proponents and opponents of an amnesty for the mass of people. For example, the Nitirat group and the National Rule of Law Commission had proposed their versions of an amnesty.
Natthawut said the prime minister was told the opponents, including the Democrat Party, were not clear in their opposition. They opposed the amnesty only because they feared former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra would receive the amnesty as well.
Natthawut quoted Yingluck as saying her government had a policy to create reconciliation - but since there are several proposals for an amnesty, the Council of State should be asked to review all suggestions before coming up with the best way to grant amnesty.
Yesterday, Atchaporn Jarujinda, secretary-general of the Council of State, was summoned to meet the prime minister. He said he had not discussed the amnesty draft law with the prime minister because the government had not yet submitted the drafts to his office. "So far, I don't know what to do with them if the drafts are submitted now because the government has not yet [deliberated on them]," Atchaporn said.