No public debate allowed in ‘secret’ draft on amnesty

So Thailand now has a Government who refuses to debate its policies with the electorate. Democracy has taken a step backwards step since the PT Government came in to power. This ‘secret draft’ is allegedly  being created to bring back Yingluck’s Brother Thaksin to Thailand, without him facing any of the outstanding corruption charges.

The government will not release details of the draft decree for amnesty before it is endorsed by the palace, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday, adding that it needed to be kept confidential to avoid public debate.

"Every pardon is granted at each government’s discretion and there is no law dictating that every pardon should be the same," he said in his rebuttal to an urgent motion filed by the Democrats.
Chalerm said the decree would be within legal boundaries and that the draft was not designed to favour a single individual, like former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
He added that the government was relying on a draft prepared by a Justice Ministry panel that was formed under the previous Democrat-led administration.
The draft is being kept confidential due to several factors, such as an incomplete drafting process and vetting by the Council of State, he said, adding that he could face impeachment proceedings if he disclosed details about a Cabinet debate held behind closed doors.
Chalerm added that a debate on the subject could cause confusion because the enforcement of pardon provisions might differ from the draft. He said there were several cases in which royal clemency was granted despite opposition from the Justice Ministry.
Democrat MP Satit Wongnongtaey said he wanted an explanation as to why the government had departed from the legal tradition of granting pardon to a broader group of individuals rather than just those sentenced by the judiciary. He voiced suspicion that the new classification was meant to apply to fugitives like Thaksin.
He also criticised Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and said she was being irresponsible by finding a pretext to stay away from the Cabinet debate.
Meanwhile, Tul Sitthisomwong, leader of the multi-coloured shirts, lodged a complaint with the Council of State against the draft decree. He said opponents of the decree would hold a rally at Lumpini Park today to air their opposition to pardoning Thaksin.
Rak Santi Party leader Purachai Piumsombun said the Cabinet debate on pardon should not be kept confidential because it would have an impact on a large number of people.
"Thaksin was a police cadet and should remain a gentleman," he said, adding that royal pardon should only be granted to those who show remorse and are not fugitives. He added that during his time as interior minister in Thaksin’s reign, he had advised against pardon sought by a daughter for her fugitive father.

— The Nation 2011-11-18

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