The government should pass an executive decree to grant amnesty to people jailed for political crimes after consulting with the Council of State, United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship co-leader Jatuporn Prompan says.
The red shirt affiliated "January 29 for the Release of Political Prisoners" group proposed the decree to speed up the pardon of political prisoners.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung opposed the move.
He said such a decree could be nullified later because it contradicts Section 184 of the constitution.
The section permits executive decrees only when urgent action is necessary for national security, public safety, the security of the economy or the prevention of a public disaster, he said.
However, the government had received the group's demand and said it would consult the Council of State over the possibility of the decree.
Mr Jatuporn said the matter was not complicated and the decree should be issued after the consultation.
A potential hurdle may be to define what the urgency is in this case, he said.
Mr Jatuporn said political offenders who have been jailed for three years or more should be granted amnesty. He was referring to the red shirts jailed for their roles in street protests during the previous Abhisit Vejjajiva administration.
But he repeated the amnesty should not benefit the leaders of the political movements which staged the rallies.
Mr Jatuporn said it was understandable that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would approach the decree issue with caution and to let the Council of State study the issue first. However, he said many red-shirts believed that for those incarcerated, every minute counts.
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- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth