Updated: More political prisoners

28 06 2020

Along with every other media outlet, Khaosod reports that, on Friday, the Supreme Court upheld rulings by lower courts against five leaders of a July 2007 protest that marched from Sanam Luang to the taxpayer-funded residence of the then president of the king’s Privy Council, Gen Prem Tinsulanonda. The rally accused Prem of fomenting the 2006 military coup.

Nattawut Saikua, Veerakarn (then Veera) Musikapong, Weng Tojirakarn, Nopparut Worachitwuthikul, and Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai were sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for “illegal assembly and using violence to resist police orders.”

Fellow UDD leader Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn observed that these men are political prisoners. The five were immediately taken from the court to prison.

While the reports refer to the five as red shirts, it needs to be noted that the wearing of the color hadn’t taken off at this time and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship-led rally and march had most people wearing yellow shirts, which was a display of “loyalty” following the 2006 60th anniversary of Bhumibol’s reign.

Another UDD leader, Jatuporn Promphan, reflected on the double standards in the judicial system: “I once said to them that on our way of fighting, it’s either death or imprisonment…. Over the past decade, we took turns getting in and out of the prison.” Jatuporn is “also due to stand trial on the same offense…”.

The double standards refer to the efforts by several royalist regimes supported by the pliant judiciary to lock up red shirts and UDD leaders while those from the royalist People’s Alliance for Democracy and People’s Democratic Reform Committee who also occupied parts of Bangkok and several state properties for extended periods, with considerable violence, get off quite lightly.

Few of the reports said much about the rally at Gen Prem’s free lodgings, so PPT went back and looked at reports from the time.

Asia Sentinel had a perceptive report. It began by observing:

On Sunday night, UDD leaders caught police unaware by marching with thousands of supporters to the house of Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, a former army chief and prime minister who is held in high respect by much of the Thai public due to his proximity to the king.

King, queen, Prem and military coup leaders

The protesters accused Prem, who was in the compound at the time, of acting as the puppet master behind the coup last September that ousted Premier Thaksin Shinawatra. They called on Prem to resign.

The UDD set up a makeshift stage in front of Prem’s house on Sunday afternoon and made speeches for five hours or so, according to witnesses and news reports. But in the evening, after the protesters vowed to permanently camp outside the residence, riot police attempted to break up the gathering and arrest the leaders, prompting demonstrators to hail rocks, chairs, sticks, water bottles and pieces of broken flower pots at the police, who eventually retreated.

Most reports put the UDD crowd at 5,000 to 10,000, with some counting up to 20,000. The police eventually mobilized about 2,000 officers. The police:

made two more attempts to arrest the protest leaders, charging at  demonstrators with clubs, pepper spray and tear gas. Each time the demonstrators fought back with fists, rocks, sticks, bottles and anything else they could find.

Weng said the protesters withdrew when threatened with the army, saying, “We didn’t want anybody killed from this event.”

The police claimed that 200 of their officers and about 70 protesters were injured. Six protesters were arrested and charged with “causing chaos, obstructing the work of authorities, and damage to state property…. Police were also seeking arrest warrants for eight or so other UDD leaders…”.

The report wonders about the police action, saying:

It’s unclear why authorities attempted to break up the protest this time as many similar
protests had occurred earlier without incident. Some observers said the army may have been spooked by UDD statements that the group would camp out in front of Prem’s house — an unacceptable scenario for generals who swear allegiance to the royal advisor.

It also notes Prem’s coup role:

Although Prem is supposed to be non-political as a privy councilor, coup opponents blast the 86-year-old for a series of speeches he gave a year ago in which he donned full military garb and said soldiers should be loyal to the king instead of the government. Many observers said the speeches set the stage for the coup.

The Irrawaddy (July 23, 2007) carried a report that royalists declared Thaksin behind the UDD. The then president of the Constitution Drafting Committee Prasong Soonsiri, cheered the arrests, saying: “He [Thaksin] is probably responsible for supporting the clash, and he won’t stop there…”. This was a widely held view among the military-installed regime led by former Privy Councillor Gen Surayud Chulanont.

Shortly after the event, the Union for Civil Liberty issued a statement:

Declaration concerning the avoidance of violence during a conflict of opinion

During a protest by the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DADD) at the home of Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda in the Thewes district of Bangkok, there occurred violent clashes between police and demonstrators. Alleging the part played by General Prem in organizing the military coup of 19th September 2006, protestors called for his resignation. As a result of the clashes which took place in the late evening of Sunday 22nd July, according to news media, 106 persons were injured.

The Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) maintains that the holding of non-violent protest to make known a political viewpoint is a civil right and a fundamental component of the democratic system. It is the duty of government to assure that the right of citizens to exercise this right is respected at all times, whether their action is against or in support of government, or to express other political opinion.

It is a matter of great regret that the protest on 22nd July last could not enjoy such a right to free expression due to the action of the police in blocking the protest march to the residence of General Prem in the Thewes district. The action angered some participants in the protest leading to the use of force and many casualties both among the protestors and the police.

To avoid the recurrence of such violence, perhaps on an even larger scale, the Union for Civil Liberty submits the following proposals:

1. Appoint a committee of persons acceptable to the public to investigate the events which occurred on the evening of the 22nd July for presentation to the Government and to the public.

2. Take court action against those who have acted illegally, whether the police or the protestors, in order that justice be done and human rights be protected.

Statement issued on 23rd July 2007
Union for Civil Liberty

So, for seeking to exercise their freedom of expression, these men are jailed. The regime that went after them was a junta-appointed administration that was vehemently royalist and anti-Thaksin. The double standards are as clear as they ever were.

Update: For another take on double standards, especially in comparing red shirts and yellow shirts, read this op-ed.





Further updated: Cat among the pigeons

22 03 2019

Matichon Sutsapda has an “interesting” story on a wedding in Hong Kong.

It is likely to set the cat among the political pigeons just a couple of days prior to the junta’s election.

Clipped from Matichon

Update 1: While social media has this story everywhere, the mainstream news outlets have been just a little more self-censorial. Even so, the Bangkok Post reports that “Princess Ubolratana on Friday presided over the wedding reception of Thaksin Shinawatra’s youngest daughter in Hong Kong.” Yingluck Shinawatra was there as well.

The story adds: “Other Thai guests were former members of the disbanded Thai Raksa Chart Party — former leader Lt Preechapol Pongpanich, co-leader Sunee Luangvichit, and MP candidate Khattiya Sawatdiphol. The Thaksin-affiliated party was disbanded by an order of the Constitutional Court for nominating Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate…. Tida Tavornseth, a red-shirt leader, was also present at the Hong Kong reception.”

There’s none of the obvious questions: What does the king think of this? Is Ubolratana in open revolt against her brother and/or family? Is this her payback for the previous month’s embarrassment? What next?

Update 2: More photos are emerging in the mainstream media and on social media that suggest further questions awaiting answers. At the risk of appearing Hello-like, here are some of them, in this instance, both clipped from Andrew MacGregor Marshall’s Facebook page:

 





On Democrat Party hypocrisy

24 09 2017

The Democrat Party has a long history of political hypocrisy. For most of its history, it has been conservative, royalist and cooperative with military regimes. There have been brief periods where it has attempted to be a democratic Democrat Party, but these periods appear as aberrations.

(For an official history of the Democrat Party, written as fairy tale, see here.)

Under Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has led the party since March 2005, it has become a raucously anti-democratic party, losing all elections that it did not boycott, damaging parliament, supporting and leading anti-democratic street protesters, happily boostering two military coups and presiding over the gunning down of red shirt protesters.

On the latter, on the 2010 massacre, after getting off murder charges again and again, Abhisit’s ego seems to know no bounds. In a display of narcissistic hubris, Abhisit was reported as miffed that red shirts were pressing on with trying to get the 2010 murders properly dealt with. He “hit back against the red shirts, urging them not to turn the loss of life suffered in the 2010 crackdown under his administration into a ‘political game’.”

A “political game”? As far as we can tell, it is only Abhisit and his ilk who have treated the murders as a political game.

Then, remarkably and unbelievably, Abhisit said “he felt sympathetic towards relatives of the victims who wanted to know the truth in order to see justice…”. Not only does that feel like a blatant lie, but the former prime minister then doubled down with a statement he used intentionally for the purpose of deception.

He declared that these red shirts – those who had lost relatives to military bullets – “had not opposed the controversial blanket amnesty bill when it was tabled by then-Pheu Thai MPs and supported by the Yingluck Shinawatra-led government, even although the proposed measure would have granted amnesty for those who were involved in the crackdown.”

This is what the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship declared at the time:

Speaking on the eve of the final House debate Thursday on the controversial bill, UDD chairwoman Thida Thavornseth on Wednesday reaffirmed the red-shirt movement’s opposition against the blanket amnesty. She said that the UDD did not want the amnesty to cover both Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thuagsuban whom the movement held accountable for the deaths of red-shirt protesters in May 2010.

Mrs Thida said that the Pheu Thai party would have to be responsible for any consequences which follow after the endorsement of the bill by the House….

Abhisit has lied (again).

He’s not the only member of the Democrat Party prone to lies and flights of fantasy.

Ong-art Klampaibul, a deputy leader of the Democrat Party, recently babbled about an “election” held under the military junta. He said: “I hope the people’s voice will be respected this time…”.

Of course, it has been the Democrat Party that has refused to accept each election result since 2005. He probably meant to say that he hopes that his failed party can ride on the military’s coattails to a position in a military-dominated government.





Criticism of the draft anti-democratic constitution

7 05 2015

While the military dictatorship is desperately attempting to limit debate and even discussion of its draft constitution to puppet assemblies, the anti-democratic nature of the charter draft is causing widespread concern.

Internationally, a range of criticism has been reported, in quite different sources.

At the World Socialist Web Site, the military dictatorship is described as a “US-backed regime.” This seems a bit of an ideological over-stretch given that recent events would permit it to be called a China-backed or Russian-backed regime. The claim that the military dictatorship “intends to stay in control indefinitely, despite proposing to hold elections next year” might be a little more accurate, although the ways in which this might be handled ned nuanced analysis.

The WSWS is on very firm ground when it states that the “aim of the new constitution is to strip elected politicians of any power” and in claiming that the “Bangkok-based ruling elites—the military, the monarchy and their supporters in the state bureaucracy—want to ensure that the Pheu Thai Party, led by Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, never regains office.”

The draft constitution is criticized for making the the preserve of “appointees close to the military and the bureaucracy”;  for having parliament “policed by a new National Ethics Assembly, authorised to remove MPs from office for ‘moral’ or ‘ethical’ reasons”; and for having provisions that allow the “generals … continue to wield power through a National Reform Steering Committee, which will set the legislative agenda for parliament to rubber-stamp.”

Meanwhile, at the Voice of America, the reporting is “even-handed,” giving space to junta sock puppet Panitan Wattanayagorn who appears to challenge the political parties, saying they “could mount a serious challenge to the draft before it is scheduled to be finalized in August.” He babbles that the path of the draft charter is “not going to be smooth, especially with Pheu Thai members, because they saw themselves as the losers in this constitution. The (former opposition) Democrats are not the same but still they are not happy because the constitution is aimed to reduce their power – at least to create more equal balance…”. We aren’t sure we know exactly what he means in the last phrase, but he probably doesn’t either.

The VOA agrees that the charter “weaken[s] the influence of major political parties, creating a greater need for coalition governments.” It quotes official red shirt leader Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn who says “it’s not a charter of democracy. They don’t want to ask the people before they can use this charter. They don’t want to have the strong party, the strong government. And especially you see the prime minister can come from other people, not the MP (member of parliament)…”.

Meanwhile, anti-democrat Kraisak Choonhavan, a member of the Democrat Party, states that the lack of support from political parties means “that the constitution will have to rewritten again and that would mean a longer stay for the military junta…”. That could be seen as a threat to the parties – accept the draft or you get the military thugs for longer.

One way or another, the royalist elite and the military keep a grip on power and a foot on the neck of Thailand’s majority.





Death and after III

12 10 2014

A couple of days ago, PPT posted on Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan deciding that he was such an important boss that he could tell people how to behave at funerals. The Deputy Dictator feared that the funeral of former Puea Thai MP and red shirt leader Apiwan Wiriyachai might become an opportunity for expressions of resistance to the royalist military dictatorship.

ApiwanApiwan died in exile, forced out of the country by the military coup in May, and harassed with lese majeste charges.

At The Nation it is reported that “huge numbers” of red shirts gathered at the international airport, which was also “heavily secured” as Apiwan’s body was returned from Manila for a funeral.

Key red shirt leaders present included Weng Tojirakarn, Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua and Jatuporn Promphan, surrounded by “hundreds of police and soldiers [who] guarded all entrances.”

The apparently fearful police “frequently warned the crowd not to express anything political in nature.” Unusually wealthy businessman, junta sycophant and incompetent police chief Somyos Pumpanmuang was there to ensure the “gathering was non-political.”

Jatuporn said that” many red-shirt supporters were likely to attend the funeral rites for Apiwan, as he had fought side by side with them.” Yingluck Shinawatra was also expected to attend the funeral despite the military dictatorship attempting to limit her participation in public events.

Many will find the dictatorship’s interference with a funeral distasteful and lacking appropriate respect.





UDD finds some voice

18 09 2014

Following the May military coup, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has been very quiet. Some of this has to do with the extent of the military crackdown and the power of the military dictatorship. Yet some of it is a failure of organization and capacity on the UDD’s part.

At last, though, the UDD leadership has done something that can be considered political. Ever so carefully, they have confronted Thailand’s acting police chief the sel-promoting Somyos Pumpanmuang on his circus-like parade of “men in black” last week.

UDD leaders Jatuporn Promphan, Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Weng Tojirakarn and some red shirt lawyers met with Somyos regarding an open letter the group submitted “asking that investigators strictly work within the law” when dealing with the MiB cases.

That may seem lame to many as Somyos is about as politically biased and unprofessional in his police work as could be imagined, but the point is made.

MIB

No attempt to link to red shirts in this!

The UDD leaders “complained in the letter that information initially released by police at a their Sept 13 press conference led the public to think that the suspects had caused the death of Col Romklao … and four other soldiers during a clash between the military and red-shirt protesters at the Khok Wua intersection on April 10, 2010.”

Speaking after a meeting with the UDD leaders, the top cop and former mining company director said “police had never named any group as being behind the five ‘men in black’ arrested last week.” He added that “he never asserted they were responsible for the death of then-Col Romklao…”.

That’s a fabricated untruth. He had them dressed up and took them out to “scenes of the crime” and forced them to re-enact their alleged crimes. He had red ribbons tied to the alleged MiBs.

No one can ever believe this man.

When Somyos bleats that “all the suspects would be treated with justice,” you know he is concocting this for he has already thrown the book of justice out the window in his fancy dress party for alleged MiBs.

Remarkably, Jatuporn reckoned “he was satisfied with the deputy police chief’s explanation.” He should have expressed appropriate skepticism of the lying general. At least the UDD complained that the ridiculous antics of Somyos and other cops were “intended to lead the public to believe the political violence in 2010 and 2014 was linked, without giving providing evidence.”





Updated: Red shirt changes

17 03 2014

The Bangkok Post reports that the official red shirts/United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) chairwoman Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn has been replaced as leader by the more fiery orator Jatuporn Promphan. The Post reckons this is a “prelude to a showdown with anti-government groups.” It might be, but PPT reckons our hits are usually a good indicator of the level of political action, and for the last week, they have been markedly down, for the moment. So the change to red shirt leadership is looking to future challenges.Jatuporn

Thida announced she was stepping down at a red shirt in Ayutthaya that drew 10,000-20,000 supporters and followed other large rallies in the north and northeast. A rally is also scheduled for Pattaya.

Thida explained red shirt frustration: “The way to fight via the parliamentary system has been closed. Now we will fight to the end and we will not lose…”. In another agency report she reportedly stated: “What we need is democracy. We do not care which political party forms a government but they have to be elected…”. She also expressed frustration with the months of anti-democrat rallies and the inability of the government to do anything about them.

The official red shirts rallied “to express opposition to the Constitution Court and other independent organisations whom they view as not acting impartially.” And, of course, they aren’t neutral or independent. The rally vowed to “step up their movement if the government is ousted in an undemocratic way.”

Jatuporn told AFP that “any new Red Shirt tactics” would be “peaceful,” and stressed that the UDD still has “to discuss our strategy,” warning that the “next battle will be big.”

Update: Not surprisingly, the UDD leadership change has caused Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha to have a political heart attack. The man in green has hated Jatuporn as the charismatic leader of red shirt protesters in 2010 for his attacks on the military.

Prayuth “implied in a press conference that Mr. Jatupon, and his fellow Redshirts activists, will not be respected by the military, as they have previously committed unspecified crimes.” The lack of respect is probably mutual as the Army has long been criminal in its murderous attacks on civilians, including in 2010.

Jatuporn clearly annoys Prayuth for the Army boss can’t shut his mouth when it comes to red shirts and politics:

It’s not appropriate for an official [like me] to argue with bandits. If they want to be aggressive toward the military I will be aggressive too. I will not accept this.

Prayuth finds red shirts dangerous and threatening because “they had organised separatist movements and insulted the Royal Family…”. It is always informative when Prayuth politicizes the monarchy.

Prayuth, who has commanded murderous attacks on red shirts, has the audacity to proclaim that Jatuporn “doesn’t have enough honour for me to correspond with him, he never shows any honour for anyone.” One should perhaps be a little more reflective on one’s own actions before claiming high honor.

Gen. Prayuth also expressed his “pity” for the Redshirts for having “an immoral man” as their leader.

Remarkably, seeming to set out the current royalist political strategy, Prayuth urged:

Thai people must have their eyes opened … If they are not happy with something, they should file lawsuits and not criticise the monarchy, or the court, or the military.

Pretty clear.





Updated: On impunity

22 10 2013

In an op-ed at the Bangkok Post, Atiya Achakulwisut makes some quite useful points regarding the impunity enjoyed by state officials, and especially those in the military who have repeatedly murdered citizens over several decades. She relates this to the misguided and politically-suicidal amnesty amendments made by some Puea Thai MPs a few days ago.

She refers to her “most memorable press conference … right after Black May in 1992.” She was a reporter who saw “the casualties and bullets up close,” and recalls being “pushed out of the protest site by lines of soldiers shooting into the sky right behind us.” Atiya remembers:

a lot of anger as journalists and the public in general were questioning whether the “people’s killers” would be brought to justice, or would be exempted from their crimes the way the powers-that-be have always been, through a special amnesty law.Suchinda

Of course, the result of the end of the military in May 1992 was an amnesty. As General Suchinda Kraprayoon wandered off after the massacre, he signed the amnesty for himself and all others involved. In this clip from journalist Michael Richardson, we see ACM Kaset in 1992 sounding much like General Prayuth Chan-ocha after the 2010 events.

Reflecting on this, Atiya thinks that it “was different back then … [as] there was no polarisation among the general public,” as there is now. She believes the “line of division was clear: between the government _ seen as dictatorial _ and the public demanding democracy. It’s not like now…”.

While PPT has sympathy with her basic point on impunity, we think her recollection of 1992 is just a little too simplistic. The reason we say this relates to another clip from 1992, where it is seen that there were plenty of bigwigs willing to serve the dictatorial government. The point is that there have always been particular social forces lined up with the military, gaining benefit from their dictatorial rule, “protection” for their interests and the promotion of a conservative and hierarchical social order.Senate

The monarchy comes to mind as a particular beneficiary but many other members of the economic elite are mentioned in this clip (left, from the Bangkok Post Weekly Review, 3 April 1992) also benefited. Some may have changed their minds when they saw the military shooting down innocent citizens (again), but it is this elite that fared pretty darn nicely under military and military-backed regimes. It is their support that has engendered the culture of impunity that persists today.

Atiya recalls the press conference in 1992 when reporters told Dr Prawase Wasi: “The government and military killed us and there is nothing we could do about it…”. She says his response was that “things would always work out. I remember him saying there would always be a way, somewhere or somehow.”

Her response was:

“How unrealistic!” How could things work out when the government that ordered a crackdown on protesters and caused scores of deaths and many more injuries was getting away scot-free? How absurd it was. How could we move on politically when such a glaring exemption was given? What framework would we adhere to in the future, what rule of law?

She was right then, but she seems to have decided that Prawase was somehow right because “[m]ost, if not all, of the key partners in the political conflict took a break and let other people take over from them.” She is mistaken because she focuses only on leaders of the moment. The economic elite remains, the military remains and the monarchy remains. They continue to work their political “magic.”And don’t forget that the rich also manage to manage their own impunity for their crimes committed in the name of quick profits, a bit of power-, alcohol- or drug-induced “fun” or because of “connections.”

But she is absolutely right when she observes:

The truth of the matter is if we look back at the history of amnesty laws in Thailand, it does not matter how they were written or how they tried to keep certain people accountable. In the end, no state authorities have ever been prosecuted for this type of crackdown.

Never. That has to change. We are heartened by protests by many red shirts, including the rank-and-file, leaders and members of parliament. Hopefully they can assert some political sense and, in the process, and maintain the call for justice for the victims of the state’s 2010 violence.

Update: Khaosod has more on official red shirt responses to the proposed amnesty, including comments by Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua and Jatuporn Promphan, each appearing to reject it.





Collective cerebral and political dysfunction

20 10 2013

Worachai Hema, a Samut Prakan Puea Thai Party MP sponsored the amnesty bill that went to parliament for discussion. It was a proposal that had the support of the official red shirts. As PPT posted back in early August, of a plethora of proposals on amnesty, this was the version that had widest support.

It was supported because it was rooted in the struggle for accountability and justice that red shirts led following the murders of April and May 2010. The proposed bill did not spare the military or leaders of political factions, seeking to pardon only low-ranking members of these groups. Thaksin Shinawatra, backing down from previous statements that saw him angling for a pardon, publicly supported Worachai’s proposal.

Thaksin’s about-face was to shore up his alliance with red shirts and to moderate opposition to the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

All that amounted to political good sense. But by an act that is amnesiac, self-destructive or gross political arrogance that good sense has been undone, with Puea Thai politicians and the party’s leadership appearing to have suffered a collective political brain failure as the amnesty bill can now be branded as being a bill for Thaksin. This is because the committee reportedly expanded the definition of “amnesty to include people found guilty by groups or ‘organisations set up after the military coup on Sept 19, 2006’.” Reportedly, it “also seeks to absolve all people involved in political unrest, including soldiers, protest leaders and authorities.” It means no accountability and impunity.

The only group left out of this blanket amnesty? You guessed it: “those found guilty of lese majeste offences under Section 112 of the Criminal Code would be excluded from the revised section’s coverage.” Yes, lock people up for supposedly “dangerous speech” but let the state’s murderers go free.

As demonstrated by the Bangkok Post, the revision to the Worachai proposal allows opponents to justifiably claim that the amendment is “clearly intended to help fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.” While Worachai “attempted to placate opponents, saying MPs could always make further changes when it comes back to the House for second and third readings,” considerable political damage has been done.Homer-Simpson-Doh

In another report, Worachai “said he stood by his original version of the bill. He said when the revised bill reaches parliament for a second reading, he will ask lawmakers to stick to his version.” The process and decision-making involved appears a Homer Simpsonesque political moment.

The political damage includes allowing the anti-government alliance currently led and organized by the Democrat Party a cause for mobilization. It also damages the links with red shirts, both with the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and with rank-and-file red shirts. Nothing could be worse for the Puea Thai Party.

The bill was approved on Friday in a Puea Thai-dominated parliamentary committee and already the Democrat Party and its allies are laughing all the way to the political bank.

Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut really has been given something to mouth off about, saying “all party branches would be directed to mobilise members to show their opposition to the bill.” His statement focused on the bill being crafted for Thaksin.

At The Nation it is reported that the Democrat Party is already planning to “lead an[other] anti-government rally once the government-sponsored amnesty bill is passed by Parliament.” That may be a way off, but why is the Puea Thai Party so keen to hand their opponents a battle cry and to provide Abhisit Vejjajiva with instant credibility? And, it would let Abhisit and his former deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban off murder charges. Puea Thai brain failure or arrogance?

In putting red shirts offside, another Bangkok Post reports the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship “leadership said yesterday it was unlikely they would accept the revised amnesty bill offering a blanket reprieve.” Showing good sense, “UDD chair Tida Tawornseth insisted that the UDD still adhered to the original version of the bill…”.

Thida said “she believed most red-shirt supporters will oppose the revised version if it grants amnesty to authorities responsible for the crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and … Suthep Thaugsuban.”

Clearer political thinking is required from Puea Thai and Thaksin needs to once more support the original Worachai proposal.





Updated: Surachai gets pardon

3 10 2013
Surachai

Surachai

PPT has received one email and seen one story reporting that Surachai Danwattananusorn, or Surachai Sae Dan, has received a pardon from the palace and that he was due to be released. The report we found stated:

A political activist who was convicted of defaming Thailand’s monarchy received a royal pardon from the king on Thursday and will be freed from jail.

Surachai Danwattananusorn was sentenced last year to 7 1/2 years in prison for making speeches judged to have insulted the monarchy three times in 2010.

He was a communist insurgent in Thailand in the 1970s and was imprisoned in the 1980s. More recently, Surachai led a faction of the Red Shirt political movement, whose members took to the streets and clashed with the military in 2010.

Surachai, 70, was expected to be released from a prison on Bangkok’s northern outskirts on Thursday after being pardoned by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Red Shirt chairwoman Thida Thavornseth said.

Surachai filed a request for the pardon last year, she said….

Update: AP has now reported Surachai’s pardon.