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Amnesty bill risks conflict

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Critics say the revised amnesty bill is clearly aimed to help former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and is sure to lead to political confrontation. 

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The revised amnesty bill has given the Uruphong protest a new meaning, drawing protestors from a variety of groups. Photo taken yesterday by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill.

Amnesty push risks conflict, govt told

Rights advocate blasts 'overt' bid to aid Thaksin

Pradit Ruangdit 
Aekarach Sattaburuth

The ruling Pheu Thai Party's move to press ahead with the revised amnesty bill offering a blanket reprieve will eventually lead to a political confrontation, lawyers and academics have warned.

Phairote Pholphet, president of the Human Rights Lawyers Association said yesterday the amnesty bill contains a hidden political agenda of the Pheu Thai Party to help ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra get away with his crimes.

Thaksin has remained overseas in self-imposed exile since being sentenced in 2008 by the Supreme Court to two years in prison for abuse of authority in the Ratchadaphisek land sale case.

"This is too overt an attempt to help Thaksin to get away with it. They just used the majority to make decisions and refused to compromise with those who disagreed," Mr Phairote said.

He referred to the House committee scrutinising the amnesty bill, which on Friday voted to pass the amended draft legislation with the blanket amnesty proposal. "The government and Pheu Thai have shown that when they want anything, they are determined to have it overtly. A political confrontation will ensue as opponents will surely come out to oppose it," Mr Phairote said.

He said the new version grants a blanket amnesty without determining who were the offenders.

The original version of the bill put forward by Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan Worachai Hema would not have granted an amnesty to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra and the protest leaders and authorities responsible for the red-shirt protest crackdown, but would have included all others convicted of crimes relating to political violence.

But the panel voted to approve revisions to Section 3 of the bill to grant a blanket amnesty to all people involved in political unrest, including protest leaders, soldiers, and authorities responsible for ordering the crackdowns.

The amended section would also invalidate the decisions of the now-defunct Asset Scrutiny Committee (ASC) which investigated alleged irregularities of the Thaksin Shinawatra administration after the 2006 coup, as well as those by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which took over the ASC's cases.

The ASC's investigations led to the Supreme Court ruling in 2010 to seize assets worth 46 billion baht from Thaksin's family after finding he had abused his power to benefit its telecom business.

The bill' s critics believe the draft legislation will benefit Thaksin and they suspected it would lead to the return of Thaksin's seized assets worth 46 billion baht.

Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher on Thailand for Human Rights Watch, said the blanket amnesty proposal has betrayed the trust of the red shirts who wanted those who were responsible for the protesters' deaths to face punishment.

Representatives of eight civic and anti-government groups yesterday met to discuss their move against the amnesty bill.

The groups include the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand, the People's Democratic Force to Overthrow Thaksinism and the People Assembly Reforming Thailand.

Suriyasai Katasila, coordinator of the Green Politics Group, said the groups have agreed they will mount an all-out campaign against the bill.

Mr Suriyasai said the groups will decide next Sunday if they will unite and merge into one new group.

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abuse of authority: the use of power in a bad, dishonest or unlawful way - การใช้อำนาจในทางที่ผิด

academic: someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job - นักวิชาการ

administration: the government of a country - รัฐบาล

advocate: someone who strongly and publicly supports someone or something - ผู้สนับสนุน

agenda: hidden agenda: a secret reason for doing something because you will get an advantage from it - เบื้องหน้าเบื้องหลัง

aid: to help - ช่วย

alleged: claimed to be true although not yet proven; claimed to have done something wrong but not yet proven - ที่ถูกกล่าวหา

amend: to make changes to a document, law, agreement, etc. especially in order to improve it - แก้ไข

amnesty: a situation in which a government agrees not to punish, or to no longer punish, people who have committed a particular crime - การนิรโทษกรรม

approve: to give official permission - อนุมัต

assembly: a group of people who have been elected or chosen in order to discuss issues and make decisions - สภา, สมัชชา

Asset Scrutiny Committee: a no-longer-existing committee in charge of investigating the assets of the Ministers in the government of Pol Lt Col Thaksin Shinawatra - คณะกรรมการตรวจสอบการกระทำที่ก่อให้เกิดความเสียหายแก่รัฐ

association: an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม

authority: a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ

benefit: to give an advantage to someone - มีประโยชน์ต่อ

betray: to deliberately do something that harms someone who needs your support - หักหลัง ทรยศ

bid: an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม 

bill: a proposal for a law - ร่างกฎหมาย

blanket: affecting or aimed at everyone or everything equally, even when this is not sensible or fair - ครอบคลุม, กว้าง

blast: to criticise severely - วิพากษ์วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง

campaign: a planned group of especially political, business or military activities which are intended to achieve a particular aim - การรณรงค์

civic group: a group made up of citizens rather than government officials -

committee: a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject - คณะกรรมการ

compromise: to solve a problem or end an argument by accepting that you cannot have everything you want - ประนีประนอม

conflict: an angry disagreement between people or groups - ความขัดแย้ง

confrontation: a situation in which people or groups are arguing angrily or are fighting - การเผชิญหน้า

convicted: having been proven guilty of a crime by a court of law - ต้องโทษ, ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่าข้อกล่าวหามีความผิดจริง

coordinator: someone whose job is to organise the various parts of an activity and make sure that all the people involved work well together - ผู้ประสานงาน

coup d’etat: the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร

crackdown: strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity - การใช้กำลังสลายผู้ประท้วง

critic: a person who expresses disapproval of somebody/something and talks about their bad qualities, especially publicly - ผู้วิจารณ์, ผู้จับผิด, ผู้วิเคราะห์

defunct: no longer existing, operating or being used - ถูกยุบ, หยุดทำงาน

determined: having made a firm decision to do something and to not let anyone prevent you - แน่นอน,ซึ่งตัดสินใจแล้ว

draft legislation: a proposal for a law - ร่างกฎหมาย

draw: to attract or interest somebody, often to cause them to go somewhere - ดึงดูดความสนใจ

ensue: to happen after something else, often as a result of it - ที่ตามมา

eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด

exile: a situation in which you live in a foreign country because you feel you cannot live in your own country, usually for political reasons - การลี้ภัย การถูกขับออกนอกประเทศ

grant: to officially give something - ให้

invalidate: to make something such as a document, contract, or process no longer legally effective - ทำให้เป็นโมฆะ

investigate: to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it - ตรวจสอบหาความจริง

irregularity: a situation in which the rules, laws, or usual ways of doing things have not been followed - การปฏิบัติที่ไม่เป็นไปตามระเบียบปกติ

lawyer: an attorney - ทนาย

majority: more than 50 percent of a group - เสียงส่วนใหญ่

merge: join two two or more things together into one thing; combine, integrate - รวม, รวมเข้าด้วยกัน

mount: to organise and begin an activity or event - เริ่มปฏิบัติการ

National Anti-Corruption Commission: An independent government organisation to investigate corruption carried out by government officials - ปปช. (สำนักคณะกรรมการป้องกันและปราบปรามการทุจริตแห่งชาติ)

network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย

offender: a person who is guilty of a crime - ผู้กระทำความผิด

opponent: someone who disagrees with you or who is competing against you - ผู้ไม่เห็นด้วยกับ, ฝ่ายตรงข้าม

original: existing at the beginning of a particular period, process or activity - เดิม, ซึ่งเป็นแบบฉบับ

ousted: forced out of a position of power - ขับออกจากอำนาจ

overseas: in another country - ต่างประเทศ

overt: not hidden or secret - ชัดเจน, โจ่งแจ้ง

overthrow: to force a person or government out of power - โค่นอำนาจ

panel: a group of people who make decisions or judgments - คณะกรรมการ

press: to try in a determined way to make someone do something - ผลักดัน, บังคับ, รบเร้า, กระตุ้น

proposal: a plan or suggestion for a group to consider - ข้อเสนอ

protest: a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something - ชุมนุมประท้วง

reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป

reprieve: officially cancelling or delaying a punishment - การชะลอการลงโทษ, การรอการลงโทษ

responsible for: to cause something to happen - ก่อให้เกิด

revise: to change, improve, or make additions to something - แก้ไข

rights: the basic rights which it is generally considered all people should have, such as justice and the freedom to say what you think - สิทธิ

risk: to cause someone or something to be in a dangerous situation - เสี่ยงอันตราย

ruling: having control over a particular group, country, etc - ซึ่งมีอำนาจ, ซึ่งปกครอง

scrutinise: to look at or examine somebody/something carefully - พินิจพิเคราะห์, พิจารณา, ตรวจสอบ

seize: to take something using official power - ยึด

self-imposed: of something that you do yourself to do rather than being forced by someone else - อย่างสมัครใจ

sentence: (of a court of law) to officially state what someone's punishment will be - พิพากษา, ตัดสินลงโทษ

supreme court: the highest court in a country - ศาลฎีกา, ศาลสูงสุด

suspect: to believe that something is true, especially something bad - สงสัย, เป็นที่สงสัยว่า

trust: a feeling of confidence in someone that shows you believe they are honest, fair, and reliable - ความเชื่อใจ, ความไว้วางใจ

unrest: angry or violent behaviour by people who are protesting or fighting against something - สถานการณ์ที่ไม่สงบ

variety: many different types of things or people - ความหลากหลาย

version: a particular form of something which varies slightly from other forms of the same thing - ชุด, เวอร์ชั่น

violence: physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people - ความรุนแรง, การใช้กำลังทำลาย

warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน

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