Red Shirt group demands amnesty for political prisoners


BANGKOK, Jan 29 – A group of Red Shirt activists rallied at Government House today, demanding the government’s promulgation of a law to grant amnesty to political prisoners held since the 2006 against the then government of Thaksin Shinawatra.

Led by Suda Rangkupan, a lecturer in Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Arts, the group said the detainees had fought to protect democracy and deserved freedom.

Calling on the government to urgently issue legislation to provide an amnesty for the detainees, the group was met by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung who promised to give their proposal to the Council of State for further consideration.

The protestors said they disagreed with Mr Chalerm, considering his action a brush off, saying they would carry on their rally at the nearby Royal Plaza and return to Government House this evening expecting to hear a more concrete reply.

They threatened to upgrade their activity to what they termed as a “permanent rally” if they failed to get a satisfactory response rom the government.

Mr Chalerm said Parliament is authorised to endorse an amnesty bill and that a reconciliation bill should be more realistic than a royal decree on amnesty as demanded by the Red Shirt activists.

When a royal decree is issued, some individuals petition the Constitution Court which predictably ends with the court nullifying the decree, he said.