There is renewed talk about the possibility of some kind of amnesty being passed for some or all of those involved in the violent PAD seizure of the airports and the state-sanctioned suppression of the pro-democracy movement (aka ‘Songkran riots’). This has most recently been suggested by the Bhumjaithai Party, whose leader Newin Chidchob is one of those waiting for the verdict in the rubber saplings trial to be revealed (does anyone really believe that those in the know do not er know the result of this already?). Khun Newin would certainly benefit from such an amnesty – he is widely suspected of being responsible for paying the ‘blue-shirt’ thugs who were responsible for most of the Songkran violence and he might also be able to wangle his way out of the sapling verdict if, as seems possible based on gossip but not on any available evidence, certain people have decided that there should be guilty verdicts. Also to benefit would be the vile PAD leaders, who bizarrely remain able to walk free despite their obvious guilt in the airport seizures and other crimes. Flap-mouthed Kasit, the PAD’s cabinet member (he was made Foreign Secretary) would also benefit, being forgiven for his part in the airport seizures. Presumably, therefore, pro-democracy UDD leaders should also benefit to the same extent, although it is most likely that some pretext will be used to make sure they get prosecuted or otherwise punished anyway. At the moment, there is no prospect of politicians who have been banned because of the dissolution of parties being forgiven but this is something that has been mooted previously. Perhaps a general amnesty of everyone would be one way forward? Yes, probably – but what about those people who were murdered or wounded by the PAD, the police and the military? Are they just to be forgotten? Well, insofar as they are small people, then the answer is probably yes. In any case, to be forgiven, people will have to answer this question in the negative: Are you now or have you ever been Thaksin Shinawatra?

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JW has been one of the first contributors to this blog before he gave up on it all in April 2010, during a time when Thai society got more and more polarized about political matters because of red-shirt protesters.

One thought on “Amnesty”

  1. I agree with all you say – but, there are also violent acts of UDD/DAAD (including a murder in Chiang Mai) to take into account and your otherwise (IMO) accurate summary is unbalanced if they’re not also mentioned.

    FWIW, my view is that proven criminal (as in personal involvement in violent) acts should not be amnestied – no matter which side committed them. Granted that still makes it a somewhat grey line as to which falls one side or the other, but still better than the present nonsense of “UDD/DAAD – lightning-fast prosecutions” versus “PAD – oh, we might get round to it if they all turn up and stop filing lawsuits”.

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