(4 November) Since its departure from its original form, the government-sponsored Amnesty Bill has been attracting much criticism from members of the public of various backgrounds.
Submitted to Parliament by Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema, the Bill was designed to grant amnesty exclusively to ordinary citizens who had been caught in the crossfires of the political unrest that has plagued Thailand in recent years.
Among those citizens are Redshirts protesters who are currently jailed for their roles in the 2010 mass protests. This intention, in our opinion, is legitimate; the prisoners should not be forced to languish in prison simply because they exercised their political rights.
However, Mr. Worachai′s draft has been drastically altered by the House Committee. The legal clemency now extends to politicians like former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, and former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva, who authorised the crackdown in 2010.
The sweeping extents of the altered draft has earned itself the nicknames ?Mao Keng? (All in the basket) and ?Suud Soi? (To the end of the alley).
The action of the House Committee is unacceptable, as the original and the altered version of the Amnesty Bill are markedly different.
Khaosod newspaper has been resolute in its mission to investigate, unearth, and publish the truths regarding the deadly military crackdown in April-May 2010.
We have presented photographs and other evidences which unambiguously pointed to the the involvement of the security forces in the deaths of over 90 people throughout the operation.
We have also highlighted the facts that many civilians who had been killed in the crackdown were unarmed protesters. None has been proven to be the elusive ?Black Shirts? gunmen so far.
The excuse of the former authorities who authorised the crackdown, that the victims were armed militants intent on murdering the security forces, lack sufficient evidence, and cannot dissolve them the responsibility of their actions. The said authorities must stand trials for their actions in 2010.
Therefore, Khaosod newspaper cannot accept the so-called 'Amnesty For All', since the bill would effectively put an end to the legal prosecution against those responsible for the deaths caused by the 2010 crackdown.
The ongoing legal case is meant to serve as a historic milestone that stops the culture of impunity in Thailand by bringing justice to the people who had stood up for their political causes only to be met with overtly violent measures of the security forces that ignore the universal respect for human rights.
Court inquests have confirmed that at least 14 victims of 2010 crackdown were evidently killed by the security forces. Such inquests have led to the indictment of former PM Abhisit last week. The full-scale criminal court trials for Mr. Abhisit and his former deputy are not far off.
These progresses would have been in vain if the blanket amnesty is ultimately approved.
Bearing all the aforementioned facts in mind, the editorial team of Khaosod newspaper hereby demands that all political parties in Parliament put an end to ?all in the basket? amnesty.
What should be in the basket for Thailand, instead, is the quest toward justice for the sake of 2010 crackdown victims.
View the Thai version of this editorial HERE
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