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Red Shirts Pressure Government to Grant Amnesty

An estimated 4,000 Red Shirts marched from the Royal Plaza to the Government House on Tuesday to demand amnesty for Thailand’s political prisoners.

Organized by the Red Shirt group called the Declaration of Street Justice, recently renamed the January 29 For the Release of Political Prisoners group, the protesters called on the government to recognize an amnesty proposal that was drafted by the Nitirat Law group of Thammasat University. The proposal would achieve amnesty through constitutional reform, which in itself continues to be a pressing issue for the government. The protesters demanded a response by 6pm, after which the government replied that it would consider all amnesty proposals carefully.

UDD leader Tida Tawornseth expressed her gratitude to Tuesday’s protesters, she said,

We thank everybody who came out yesterday to show the government that Thailand needs amnesty for the people. Regardless of what method is proposed and ultimately implemented, we share the common goal of freeing political prisoners.

(more…)

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Calls for Amnesty Intensify

Red Shirts across Thailand have amplified their calls for the government to grant amnesty to all political prisoners still suffering in jail. These calls have increased in intensity following the Criminal Court’s decision to sentence prominent Red Shirt activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk to 10 years imprisonment for allegedly violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law. The verdict has prompted major outcries from local and international critics who have condemned the sentence as a political maneuver.

UDD lawyer Robert Amsterdam traveled to Bangkok this week to express solidarity with Somyot. During his visit with Somyot in Bangkok Remand Prison on Monday, Amsterdam told the press that

The charges against Somyot are being used by the opposition who are against free speech and human rights. They are the reason we are here visiting our friends in jail.

(more…)

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UDD Draft Amnesty Decree

The following is the draft of an Amnesty Decree. It was proposed by the UDD to the government, together with this statement.

Draft Amnesty Decree

(English Translation)

Royal Decree on Amnesty of Political Convicts and Political Defendants Stemming from the Political Conflict between 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2012, A.D.

  • Article 1: This Decree shall be cited as “Royal Decree on Amnesty of Political Convicts and Political Defendants Stemming from the Political Conflict between 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2012, A.D.”.
  • Article 2: This Decree shall come into force the day following the date of its publication in the Royal Thai Government Gazette.
  • Article 3: All persons who have been charged of committing any crime stemming from the political conflict between 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2012, be they convicted or awaiting sentencing, shall be declared as innocent, and shall be freed of any responsibility for the charges brought against them.

The provision of the preceding paragraph shall not include the leaders who have authority or are in charge of political movements during that time.

  • Article 4: The Prime Minister shall be in charge of this Decree.

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UDD Submits Draft Amnesty Decree

On Tuesday, 500 Red Shirts and UDD leaders gathered outside Laksi Prison in Bangkok to announce a draft executive decree which, if signed by prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, would grant amnesty to all political prisoners, excluding decision-makers.

The concise draft decree states that all persons, Red, Yellow, or other, charged or convicted of a criminal offense should be granted amnesty if said offense stemmed from Thailand’s post-coup political conflict (2007-2012). However, people in leadership and decision-making positions would not be let off the hook, the draft decree stipulated.

(more…)

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Red Shirts unite against coups d’état

On Saturday, more than 100,000 Red Shirts gathered at the Bonanza in Khao Yai for a political rally/concert that lasted well into the early hours of Sunday.

In between acts, Red Shirt speakers discussed the government’s plans to amend the constitution, as well as other goals of the Red Shirt movement.

While the UDD and the Pheu Thai government agree on the need to amend the constitution, several UDD co-leaders are critical of the government’s plans to hold a referendum. On Saturday the speakers argued instead for a third reading of the constitutional amendments in parliament, since they see a referendum as an unnecessary risk. (more…)

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