Thai police prepare for amnesty bill protesters

Aug. 7, 2013 at 6:54 AM

BANGKOK, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Police in Bangkok Wednesday set up a perimeter around Parliament to brace for demonstrators opposed to a proposed amnesty bill, officials said.

The Thai Parliament is scheduled to give the bill, proposed by Worachai Hema, a lawmaker front he ruling Pheu Thai party, a first read Wednesday, CNN reported.

The proposed bill would absolve protesters charged, prosecuted and convicted of acts against the state committed during a military coup that brought down former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from September 2006 to May 2011.

Thaksin left Thailand in 2008 after he was convicted of conflict of interest. He was sentenced in abstentia to two years in prison. Those critical of the ramifications of the proposed amnesty bill are worried it could open the way for Thaksin to return to Thailand, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch called on Thailand's government to revise the bill so it excludes people convicted of ordering or carrying out human rights abuses during the coup.

"Worachai's amnesty bill is an insult to the victims and families of the 2010 violence," said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW. "It is totally unacceptable that those who committed serious abuses, including soldiers who pulled the triggers and commanders who gave the orders, would remain untouchable through an amnesty."

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