PM Prayut approves panel to evaluate Section 112 cases

PHOTO: KLA Party Secretary-General Atavit Suwannapakdee proposed the Section 112 panel that PM Prayut approved yesterday. (via Facebook)

While many protest and fight for repeal or reform of Thailand’s harsh lèse majesté laws – also known as Section 112 – PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has agreed to a plan proposed by the pro-monarchy KLA Party to convene a panel to review all complaints filed before proceeding with charges. The panel will be made up of experts who would evaluate any complaint filed with the police and decide if it is worth prosecuting or whether to drop it.

The idea was first brought up during a debate with a fierce advocate for monarchy law reform in the Progressive Movement that took place on November 5. The KLA Party Secretary-General argued against any reform, saying that the Section 112 laws are absolutely necessary to protect Thailand and the monarchy.

The proposal that gained the prime minister’s support would drop the idea completely of any sort of reform to the Section 112 laws and instead send all accusations to the special panel made up of 7 people for evaluation. Panel members would include a representative from the Royal Thai Police, the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General’s office, as well as two experts on political science and two more experts on the law.

As the law currently stands, any Thai person can file a Section 112 complaint against anyone they perceived to have done something against the monarchy of Thailand and the police are required to handle the complaint. The new panel would instead consider any complaint that was filed against someone under Section 112 and if they feel the matter is without merit to proceed, the case should be dropped. If they find enough substance to pursue the charge, then the case can proceed with prosecution by police and courts.

The KLA Party Secretary-General who proposed the idea said that they submitted it just 3 days later on November 8 to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin. He says that they got word from the Justice Minister yesterday that PM Prayut had approved their proposal, though there’s no word of when the plan will proceed and the panel will be selected.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.