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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Is new amnesty law the path to political reconciliation in Thailand?

Legal amnesty for people charged with political crimes has been a hot potato for the past decade in Thailand.

An attempt in 2013 by Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai government to pass an amnesty law covering anyone charged in connection with political conflicts led to massive street protests that culminated in a military coup in May 2014. Later moves to push for an amnesty law all failed.

Now, Pheu Thai’s return to power has sparked fresh efforts by parties and civic groups to pass a blanket pardon for political cases. However, a heated debate has emerged over whether the legislation should cover lese majeste cases under Article 112 of the Criminal Code.

The House of Representatives on February 1 resolved to set up a 35-member ad hoc committee tasked with studying the prospective amnesty law, proposed by the ruling Pheu Thai party. The panel was given 60 days to complete its…

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