Former PM Thaksin supports amendment of Thailand’s lèse majesté law
Exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has voiced support for changes to the country’s controversial lèse majesté law (Section 112 of the Criminal Code), especially the maximum 15-year prison term, which he says is too heavy.
Thaksin’s opinion on this sensitive issue was released online via the page of the “CARE” group of his supporters.
To clear up any misunderstanding over his position regarding the issue, Thaksin admitted that his previous statement was not clear enough, resulting in people misunderstanding that he was against attempts to amend the law.
He said that a major problem with it, as it stands, is that anybody can file a lèse majesté complaint with the police, which they are obliged to accept and forward to the public prosecutors.
He said that there used to be a committee charged with considering such complaints and determining whether they were worthy of further action. These days, however, anybody can lodge a lèse majesté complaint and the police must accept it.
The former prime minister defended the new generation of Thais, who harbour unorthodox opinions about the monarchy, saying that people in government do not understand their way of thinking and consider them to be anti-monarchist.
He also urged Pheu Thai party, one of the reincarnations of the party he founded two decades ago, to talk to students straightforwardly about the monarchy and what can or cannot be changed.
He said he is supportive of the Pheu Thai Party’s use of parliament as a channel for efforts to amend the lèse majesté law and to ensure that those held on remand, accused of violating that law, are granted bail.
Last week, Pheu Thai Party’s strategy chief Chaikasem Nitisiri issued a statement saying that they are preparing to propose that amendments to Sections 112 and 116 (sedition) of the Criminal Code be added to the agenda of the next parliamentary session.
Today, Pheu Thai representatives also submitted a petition to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to set up a parliamentary committee overseeing the exercise of power of law enforcers when it comes to rights of the people and those accused of crimes, which the party deems to be excessive.