Scales of justice?

4 03 2014

There has been talk of double standards in the Thai legal system for some time, and the red shirts have long pointed at these when, for example, red shirts were being locked up by the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, while several cases against yellow shirts dragged on and on, and none of them seemed to ever be incarcerated. It was a reasonable complaint for any fair-minded person.

Recently, some red shirts decided to test the extent of double standards by deciding to set up a protest stage at the office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). In essence, they were emulating the anti-democrats, who not just set up stages, but blocked government offices, in some cases stormed them, and even dragged away files and papers.

Yet, as the Bangkok Post reports, these red shirts, who “opposed the anti-graft panel decision to charge the caretaker prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in relation to her problematic rice-pledging scheme,” [notice the Post’s bias in the use of the term “problematic”] have found themselves arrested in record time.

Partly, this rapid process reflects the fact that the members of the group “turned themselves in to police in Nonthaburi on Monday…” after the Nonthaburi provincial court approved arrest warrants. The report states that they have “been charged with trespassing at the office of the NACC and damaging property in connection with their protest on Feb 17.”

Not surprisingly, the group believed that “their protest should receive the same protection from the Civil Court’s recent order to protect anti-government demonstrators’ rights.” That would seem quite reasonable, especially as various courts have repeatedly refused warrants for the anti-democrats, including several for men armed with automatic weapons who shot up various areas in support of the anti-democrats.

But being reasonable and even observing the law is something that the courts now find politically impossible as they have become amongst the most politicized courts in Asia.