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Calls to include lese majeste offences in new amnesty bill

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Two political organisations urged the special House committee to include violations of Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lese majeste law, in the new amnesty bill proposals. They urged that parties are opposed to the coup orchestrators, rather than the monarchy itself.

The Peace and Harmony Organisation and June 24 Democracy groups jointly submitted their petition to Chaithawat Tulathon, leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP) and a member of the special committee.

Representing the two groups, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, expressed concerns that the committee may not fully comprehend the adverse impacts of enforcing the policy describing its effects as unjustifiable. He argued that the law contradicts the principles of freedom of expression and democracy.

Another activist, Kiattichai Tangpornphan, pointed out that Section 112 is a major driver of political conflicts, frequently misused to silence or discredit individuals with differing views or ideologies. The number of lese majeste cases typically spikes following significant political events, such as military coups, highlighting the law’s exploitation, he said.

“After being prosecuted in a lese majeste case, some are released on bail while others are not, despite all suspects deserving the same rights.”

According to Kiattichai, those charged with lese majeste often opposed the coup orchestrators rather than the monarchy itself. Many simply criticised coup leaders for attempting to justify their authoritarian rule by claiming loyalty to the monarchy.

He mentioned that the special House committee comprises members with varying opinions on whether to include lese majeste offences in the amnesty bill.

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“At this point, the committee is still working on the scope of the amnesty committee’s authority, which will decide who should and shouldn’t be granted amnesty when the bill is passed.

“The urged inclusion of Section 112 offences will be discussed later.”

Chaithawat echoed the activists’ sentiment, noting that the lese majeste law gained more traction following a coup, reported Bangkok Post.

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