NPDP eyes new amnesty bill

NPDP eyes new amnesty bill

Party targets victims of political cases

The New Palang Dhamma Party (NPDP) announced on Wednesday it would propose a bill to grant amnesties to people charged and prosecuted in political cases.

NPDP leader and list-MP Dr Rawee Machamadon said the party had just completed drafting the proposed bill and would lobby coalition government MPs and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for support.

He said he had been in talks with several concerned parties about how to overcome rampant political divisions and decided to push the amnesty plan.

Under the proposed bill, which contains seven sections, anyone who committed political offences from Sept 19, 2006, to Nov 30 of this year during political demonstrations would be forgiven in criminal cases and freed of liability in civil lawsuits.

Those being investigated or standing trial in court would see the charges or cases dropped while those already convicted would have their records of wrongdoing expunged and be released from prison.

However, Dr Rawee said the draft law would not cover those found guilty of graft and other forms of corruption; serious criminal offences such as the shooting of state officials; or violations of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law.

He said he had discussed the amnesty plan with various political groups as well as the red shirts and yellow shirts, and while not everyone agreed, the majority embraced the idea.

Dr Rawee expressed confidence the bill would receive support from the government and opposition camps and that it would pass their scrutiny before the House of Representatives term ends in March.

Pibhop Dhongchai, former leader of the now-dissolved yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), on Wednesday backed the bill on his Facebook page.

It was time society sought a solution to political conflicts and openly discussed amnesties for those prosecuted in so-called "political cases", he said.

According to Mr Pibhop, such amnesties have been sought and granted on several occasions, notably Order 66/2523 issued during the Prem government in the 1980s. The order effectively ended the conflict with communist insurgents at the start of that decade.

Mr Pibhop said amnesties also were granted to those involved in the October 1973 and May 1992 uprisings and to the coup-makers for overthrowing the government and tearing down the charter.

Last month, the Move Forward Party also suggested an amnesty for political cases.

Rawee: Won't cover graft cases

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