Wife Of Redshirt Jailed For Carrying Radio Pleads For Amnesty

(3 August) Ms. Jintana Eiamlaor, a 53-year-old housewife in Rayong province,
has been closely following the chaotic debate surrounding the Amnesty Bill out of a very personal
reason.

She hopes that her husband, who was arrested and jailed in the closing days of 2010
Redshirt protests in Bangkok for violating security laws by possessing a radio transmitter in his
pocket, would be freed alongside other Redshirts prisoners currently imprisoned if the Amnesty Bill
is passed.

The draft of Amnesty Bill proposed by Mr. Worachai Hema, an MP of the ruling Pheu
Thai Party, is due to be debated in the Parliament on 7 August. It promises immediately release, and
amnesty, for Redshirts protesters jailed for their alleged crimes during the 2010
protests.

Ms. Jintana′s husband, Mr. Prasong
Maneeing, 60, was arrested for violating the emergency decree near the Redshirts protests sites in
central Bangkok on 17 May 2010.

The prosecutor charged him with possession of explosives and
communication device, arguing that he was coordinating unlawful attacks on security forces. Mr.
Prasong′s wife contended that the charge and the evidence of explosives were falsely placed against
him, insisting that he was only carrying a small radio transmitter on that day.

Nevertheless,
the court decided that the prosecutor′s evidences are adequate, sentencing Mr. Prasong to 9 years and 4
months in prison.

Ms. Jintana told our correspondent a story similar to what other families
of jailed Redshirts protesters had experienced:
losing
the breadwinner of the family, and having to travel back and forth between their homes in outlying
provinces and Bangkok to navigate through the legal complication for their imprisoned relatives – a
daunting task for many rural residents.

In Ms. Jintana′s case, she and her daughter had to
skip work frequently in order to attend numerous court hearings in Bangkok. She had attempted to
have Mr. Prasong released on bail as he fought his case, but the court never granted it.

“My
family is becoming poorer” said Ms. Jintana. Her husband worked as a local construction contractor,
earning up to 20,00-30,000 baht per project, according to Ms. Jintana. Now that he is in prison, her
daughter is solely responsible for shouldering the family expenses.

She said she was forced to
give up a house she and her husband had been paying in installments in Bangkok, and she had returned
to Rayong province to take care of her 5-year-old granddaughter. Spending time with her is also
hard, she said, as the little girl kept asking her where grandpa is.

Meanwhile, Mr. Prasong′s condition kept deteriorating in prison,  according to Ms. Jintana, as he is old and
has chronic diseases – like diabetes – which usually require him to see the doctor once a month. She is
worried that her husband does not have adequate medical access in jail.

Ms. Jintana said that her family were really happy when they heard about the
Amnesty Bill, hoping that her husband would finally be released from his ordeal with the passing of
the bill.

She stressed that many Redshirts like her husband were falsely implicated in their
crimes by the authorities at the time, and argued that the bill would rectify these
injustices. 


“I wish the bill will pass” said
Ms. Jintana, “It will bring justice for everyone”.

However, the opposition Democrat Party and
anti-government factions have vowed that  they would never let Mr. Worachai′s Amnesty Bill to pass
through the Parliament, insisting that the Redshirts were errorists who deserved punishment and
that an amnesty would amount to cheating the legal system on behalf of city-burning
thugs.

The anti-government activists are poised to stage their major rally near the
Parliament next week to voice their opposition to the Amnesty Bill. The government has responded by
enacting security laws giving it sweeping power to contain the protests, as fear that the protests
might turn violent grew in Bangkok.

Ms. Jintana insisted that her husband is a good man who
went to the protests in 2010 o exercise his democratic rights. She said he had
committed no crime, and did not deserve the lengthy jail sentence imposed on
him.

“It is not
like he had murdered anyone. He is a good man, he does not deserve this”, Ms. Jintana
said.