Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Monday urged [press release] the Thai government and parliament to reject a proposed blanket amnesty law that would prevent all prosecutions of people involved in political unrest, including protest leaders, military personnel and other authorities responsible for crackdowns on protesters. The proposed law expands a prior version of the draft law [JURIST report], which only provided full amnesty to those charged with political offenses during the country's 2006 military coup. HRW's Asia director stated that the law effectively whitewashes past abuses and "denies justice to victims and tells future abusers they have little to fear."
Thailand has faced significant political instability since the 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra. In December of last year Thailand announced that former prime minister Abhist Vejjajiva would be charged with murder [JURIST report] for his role in the 2010 military crackdown [TIME backgrounder] on anti-government protests that left more than 90 killed and 1,800 injured. In October the Thai Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant [JURIST report] for Thaksin after he refused to appear before the court to stand trial for criminal charges. In February 2011 seven leaders of Thailand's "red shirt" movement, a pro-Thaksin group, were released on bail [JURIST report]. The leaders were arrested on terrorism charged following their involvement with the 2010 anti-government protests.