Thaksin backs broad amnesty

Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has thrown his support behind a reconciliation bill proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, according to a Pheu Thai Party source.

Thaksin, widely seen as the party's de facto leader, talked to party MPs at a meeting via Skype Tuesday, the source said. Thaksin said he had discussed the reconciliation bill with Mr Chalerm and urged the deputy premier to press ahead with it, the source added.

"I want to come home. Tell the Democrat Party not to worry. If I come back, I don't want anything, I won't ask for any positions. [I would] let Prime Minister Yingluck [Shinawatra] continue to run the country," the source quoted Thaksin as saying.

On Saturday, Mr Chalerm admitted that his reconciliation bill, which has six sections, aims to bring Thaksin back home.

Mr Chalerm said Tuesday he would ask the people who have proposed different versions of reconciliation and amnesty bills to withdraw them from parliament. The bills would be incorporated into his version to be submitted as a single bill to the House.

Mr Chalerm said his bill had been vetted by the Council of State and will be considered by Pheu Thai. If the party agrees with it, he will push for three straight readings when parliament reconvenes in August.

The bill seeks amnesty for all those who committed political offences from the beginning of 2006, the year of the coup which ousted Thaksin, until the bill becomes law.

Under the bill, any ongoing judicial and court proceedings against political offenders must be stopped and any convictions and punishments must be annulled, Mr Chalerm said.

The bill seeks to grant amnesty to rank-and-file protesters, protest leaders and state authorities involved in clashes with protesters.

It also covers those who were accused by the now-defunct Asset Scrutiny Committee. Under the bill, they should also be considered political offenders and their convictions and punishments should be annulled.

Eight bills seeking amnesty for political offenders facing charges relating to political violence since the 2006 coup have now been proposed.

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Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
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