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Democracy Update

During the UDD’s weekly press conference on Wednesday, co-leaders discussed the ongoing push for amnesty, efforts to observe the upcoming gubernatorial elections, and plans to expand political education initiatives across the country.

The UDD continues to push for the Amnesty Decree to be passed by the cabinet as an emergency resolution for political prisoners on both sides of the conflicts. Other groups have proposed alternative pathways for amnesty, such as Nitirat’s plan to add an amnesty chapter to the Constitution. While the UDD welcomes amnesty for political prisoners by any means possible, the co-leaders argue that an Amnesty Decree would offer the quickest solution.

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United for Amnesty

At the press conference on Wednesday, UDD co-leaders discussed the necessity of amnesty for political prisoners in Thailand and the UDD’s short-term plans.

Amnesty for political prisoners of all colours, with the exception of rally leaders, is currently the main priority for the UDD. The organization has submitted a Draft Amnesty Decree proposal to the government which could provide speedy amnesty to those who are suffering in prison due to charges stemming from the current political conflict.

Jatuporn Prompan exclaimed,

Our brothers and sisters have been stuck in Laksi prison for too long. We must not be selfish and prioritise our own success over their release.

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UDD Reacts to Constitutional Court’s Silence

At a press conference on Friday, Red Shirt  leaders reacted to the Constitutional Court’s response to a letter submitted by the UDD which sought clarifications on the Court’s 2012 decision on amending the constitution. The UDD also reiterated its calls for the government to act on amnesty for political prisoners as well as for granting jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Earlier in January, the UDD had submitted a letter to the Constitutional Court seeking clarification on the appropriate procedure for a constitutional amendment. The Court had proposed a referendum should be held prior to the third reading of a bill which would open the door to comprehensive charter reform. In response to the UDD’s inquiry, the Court stated that

The ruling is clear. It is not necessary to explain further.

UDD leader Tida reacted,

The Court’s response reveals its negative attitude. The questions were posed in all sincerity as they are important for the country.

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UDD Responds to Democrat Delusion

At a press conference on Friday, the UDD leaders called on the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to reopen their investigation into the death of Boonmee Rermsuk, one of the 98 victims of the 2010 military crackdown, after the Criminal Court failed to establish his killer.

In a unsurprising distortion of logic, the Democrat Party has argued that the Court’s failure to find the authorities guilty is sufficient proof that the protesters were armed and violent. UDD leader Tida Tawornseth maintained that the Red Shirts were not armed in 2010 and the Court has found the Democrat-led authorities guilty in the 4 other cases from 2010 already dealt with by the Thai judicial system. Tida asked the DSI to further investigate the death of Boonmee, also known as “Uncle Boonmee”.

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UDD Outlines Four Tier Strategy for 2013

At a press conference on Friday, the UDD leadership outlined their four tier strategy for 2013. Each tier means to challenge a different consequence of the 2006 coup and its aftermath.

First of all, the UDD will prioritize its ongoing struggle for amnesty for political prisoners. UDD leader Tida Tawornseth called on the government to issue an amnesty decree within the next two months. The death of Red Shirt prisoner Wanchai Raksanguansilp on December 27th, 2012, has fueled the anger and frustration among Red Shirts who expected more action from the Pheu Thai administration.

The second tier is the fight for justice and an end to state violence  in Thailand. The murder charges brought against Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban for their lethal and illegal response to the Red Shirt protests in 2010 are a positive development and the UDD will monitor the process closely. Nevertheless, the UDD believes that granting the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction to open a preliminary investigation would help ensure a fair process for all.

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Red Shirts Ask “Where is the Rule of Law?”

At a press conference on Friday, UDD co-leaders expressed their outrage over former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s ability to circumvent the rule of law by walking out of the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) without signing and agreeing to the terms of his release after hearing his charges yesterday. The Red Shirt leaders were equally appalled by his continuing lack of respect for the victims of the military crackdown in 2010.

Abhisit and his former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban presented themselves at DSI offices on Thursday to deny the murder charges against them in regards to the death of taxi driver Pan Kamkong who was killed by CRES soldiers on May 15th 2010. However, they refused to sign a document accepting the conditions for their bail, which prohibit them from: leaving the country without the approval of the DSI; tampering with evidence; and obstructing the investigation. Despite this outright rejection of the legal process, they were free to go.

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Government Must Act on ICC, Constitution, and Amnesty- UDD

On Friday, UDD leaders called on the government to move on 3 burning issues that would strengthen democracy and reconciliation in Thailand: International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction, amending the constitution, and granting amnesty to political prisoners, excluding leaders.

Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan argued that the government is still under threat from anti-democratic forces and must act immediately on granting the ICC jurisdiction over the military crackdown of spring 2010.

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UDD Leaders Urge Red Shirts to Stay Disciplined and United

At an informal gathering today, UDD leaders spoke to Red Shirt activists about developments in Saturday’s Pitak Siam rally. They once again urged Red Shirts to stay away from the ongoing rally in Bangkok and thanked the police for their handling of the protests which have remained stable.

Most importantly, Red Shirts were urged to stay calm and steer clear of any situations that could lead to riots or violence.

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