Amnesty Bill sponsor opposes revised version

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Amnesty Bill sponsor opposes revised version

BANGKOK, Oct 25 – Pheu Thai MP Vorachai Hema, who sponsored the Amnesty Bill, said today he objected to changes to the original version by the House scrutiny committee.

He said he did not vote in favour of the revised version of Article 3 of the bill which grants a blanket amnesty to those who ordered a crackdown on protesters in the 2010 political upheaval, and core leaders in the demonstration.

He said there were differences of opinions in the scrutiny process but the final decision rests with Parliament, insisting that ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra gave every government MP the individual right to vote without giving any special instruction.

“I only voted for some scrutinised articles which are not different from the original bill. I did not follow the majority scrutiny committee in voting for Article 3,” he said.

Jurin Laksanavisit, opposition chief whip, admitted that he was gravely concerned with an amendment to Article 3 proposed by deputy committee member Prayuth Siripanich to pardon every related party on corruption and criminal charges from 2004 to August 8, 2013.

It would void all cases under the jurisdiction of independent organisations after the September 19, 2006 coup, he said.

He declared the Democrat Party’s determination to fight against the scrutiny process and future debate on the bill in Parliament.

He insisted that the Amnesty Bill was defined as a financial legislation, and consequently must be endorsed by the prime minister before parliamentary deliberations.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said earlier that the Amnesty Bill was unrelated to financial matters.