Ji on a pardon

17 11 2011

Seeking a pardon for Taksin

is a betrayal of Red Shirts in prison

Giles Ji Ungpakorn


Rumours are flying around the Thai press that the Government is seeking a royal pardon for Taksin by pushing for a general pardon for some prisoners during the King’s birthday. The criteria for receiving a pardon is thought to be that they must be over the age of 60 and not sentenced to more than 3 years in prison. Those who have not actually been imprisoned would qualify. This opens the door to Taksin being given a royal pardon for corruption.

The criteria mean that all lese majeste prisoners would NOT be covered. Red Shirts accused of burning buildings or “terrorism” would also not be covered. This amounts to a gross betrayal of Red Shirt prisoners and all those who sacrificed their lives for Democracy.

In the past Peua Thai supporters have always used a stock answer when we raised the issue of immediately releasing the political prisoners. They said “wait for the flood waters to fall”. We never believed such excuses. Now even with many parts of the country still covered by floods, the Government has found time to try to get a royal pardon for Taksin. This proves the weaknesses of such excuses.

One key Government Minister involved in asking for Taksin’s pardon is Chalerm Yubamrung. His stupidity in carrying this out is shown by the fact that it will lay the Government open to Yellow Shirt charges that the Government only acts for Taksin. At the same time it will anger and demoralise many Red Shirts. The Government erroneously thinks it can do anything and still maintain mass Red Shirt support. But we cannot expect anything better from gangster politicians like Chalerm who never struggled alongside Red Shirts.

The Nitirat Groups’ proposals for legal and political reform are a much better and elegant alternative. They call for the scrapping of laws which resulted from the 2006 illegal military coup. This would end many political cases in the courts and release prisoners. Taksin could then be re-charged with corruption, giving him the chance to prove his innocence in an un-biased court. The process would have democratic legitimacy.

In fact nothing more should ever be asked of the King. He should just fade away. As an unelected person he should not have any power to pardon anyone and Red Shirts are not guilty of anything anyway. The guilty people are Abhisit, Sutep and Generals Prayut and Anupong who ordered the killing of prodemocracy Red Shirts last year. They must be charged and never pardoned.



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