At the UDD’s weekly press conference on Wednesday, UDD chairwoman Tida Tawornseth called on the Minister of Justice Pracha Promnok to act swiftly on behalf of Thailand’s political prisoners.
In a letter dated March 11th 2013, Tida requested the immediate transfer of 10 Red Shirt and lèse majesté prisoners to Laksi prison which is reserved for political offenders. The list includes noted 112 prisoners Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, Thantawut Thaweevarodomkul, and Daranee Chanchengsillapakul, who are currently imprisoned alongside violent criminals.
The manner in which Thailand is treating its political prisoners is contrary to basic democratic principals. Even the Sarit dictatorship recognized a distinction between political offenders and other prisoners. Now that we are more democratic we can’t even meet such low standards.
In the letter, Tida argues that, while political prisoners are deprived of their freedom, they still have the right to information, education, health care, and fair visiting hours. Laksi prison provides much better living conditions than other prisons such as Bangkok Remand where as many as 40 prisoners are held in the same room.
In the same letter, Tida called on the National Human Rights Commission to fight for the bail rights of prisoners that are trying to fight their cases from behind bars. She also urged government officials involved in the Royal Pardon process to move quickly on cases where prisoners are suffering or have dependents who need them on the outside.
As the amnesty debate continues on indefinitely, these are but a few of the measures that the Pheu Thai government can implement to alleviate some of the suffering of Thailand’s political prisoners, Tida concluded.
Jatuporn Prompan responded to the allegation from the Democrat Party that the whole amnesty dialogue is a ploy to relieve Thaksin of his convictions.
Thaksin and the Red Shirt leaders will not be granted amnesty, but the democrats are still playing stupid. They keep claiming that it’s for Thaksin. This has nothing to do with Thaksin or UDD leaders. It’s for the people. Releasing political prisoners is essential for progress in Thailand.
For a copy of the original letter to the Justice Minister (in Thai), click here.