Amnesty 'for reds, not for Thaksin'

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is pushing for an amnesty bill for the sake of ordinary red shirts, and not for himself, his son said yesterday.

Panthongtae Shinawatra, son of the ousted and fugitive former PM, posted a message on his Facebook page that Thaksin's move would benefit all sides, particularly ordinary red-shirt protesters facing legal trouble for taking part in the 2010 political unrest.

He said Thaksin urged opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to stop stalling the move and to review his own conduct while considering the benefit to society as a whole by helping the push for an amnesty.

"Former prime minister Abhisit should stop worrying about [Thaksin] and focus on keeping his word about supporting amnesty for ordinary people," Panthongtae said in his Facebook message.

His father was still concerned about ordinary protesters affected by the political unrest and keen for them to be "healed", particularly relatives of those who had been killed and the thousands still facing charges related to the unrest.

"They deserve to be granted amnesty," Panthongtae stated.

He said Thaksin called for "sincerity" from Abhisit in handling the issue, adding that this would be a test of his character and prove he was not just good at talking.

Thaksin, who has been in self-exile overseas to avoid going to jail for abuse of power at home, yesterday phoned veteran politician Suwat Liptapanlop, who turned 58.

The ex-premier said that he hoped Suwat would be "lucky in all matters", according to a source familiar with the matter.

Suwat yesterday greeted many politicians from the government and opposition parties, including Abhisit and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, at his Bangkok home in Rajvithi.

In a related development, Pheu Thai deputy spokesperson Jirayu Huangsab said the party had yet to officially meet and discuss the issue of an amnesty bill.

There had been some informal discussions on how Thailand should proceed and achieve reconciliation. This, he said, would have to involve dialogue with all stakeholders.

He urged people to tolerate and listen to people with differing views.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democrats said the party was willing to endorse an amnesty bill that would cover those who had not committed criminal offences or corruption, but the court must proceed on those two types of offences and adjudicate.

Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, spokesperson of the Democrats, said at a press conference yesterday that in reaction to what first deputy House Speaker Charoen Jankomol had said earlier, the party was willing to seek a solution for the country with others and support an amnesty bill that would cover ordinary protesters. This should cover those who violated the emergency decree as well as the Internal Security Act.

But he said the party opposed granting amnesty to those accused and convicted of physical assault and corruption. He said those being granted amnesty should be educated and made to understand that they should not violate the emergency decree and the Internal Security Act again, otherwise the problem would resurface.

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