Thailand to discuss lese majeste suspects’ amnesty

Picture courtesy of bangkokbiznews

Amidst Thailand’s ongoing political tension, the House of Representatives‘ special committee is poised for a crucial meeting today to deliberate the formation of a new committee. This body is to consider the inclusion of lese majeste suspects in the proposed political amnesty.

Nikorn Chamnong, the committee’s secretary-general, confirmed the upcoming discussion.

Yuttaporn Issarachai, leading a sub-committee dedicated to the evaluation of acts relevant to amnesty law guidelines, reported the preparation of a membership roster for the prospective committee. This list, featuring judges, attorneys, and legislative representatives, awaits endorsement at today’s gathering.

Yuttaporn emphasised that the new committee’s function would respect the autonomy of the justice system.

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“The list will be presented at today’s meeting for approval. The new committee if formed, will not interfere with the justice system.”

Questions arose about the urgency of the committee’s formation in the aftermath of Netiporn Saneysangkhom’s death. Netiporn, an activist who had been detained under Section 112, also known as the lese majeste law, passed away following a hunger strike to protest the incarceration of political detainees. Yuttaporn addressed these concerns by assuring that the process is advancing according to schedule.

Netiporn had been charged for her participation in a survey concerning royal motorcades in February 2022. Her bail application was denied, with the court citing flight risk concerns. Following her imprisonment in January, Netiporn’s health deteriorated due to her refusal of medical treatment during a hunger strike.

Move Forward Party (MFP) list-MP Rangsiman Rome, the special committee’s second vice chairman, intends to put Netiporn’s case on the agenda, highlighting the urgency to protect political dissenters from a similar fate. Rangsiman underscored the uncertainty surrounding the inclusion of Section 112 cases in the amnesty and advocated for the consideration of political motivation over the nature of the cases.

“This is to prevent those who have opposing political views and are charged under Section 112 from dying like her.”

The MFP continues to promote the idea that political motive should be the primary criterion for amnesty eligibility, a stance that could influence the shaping of Thailand’s political landscape if adopted. Today’s meeting is set to be a pivotal moment, potentially impacting the future of political expression and the justice system in the country, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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