The Move Forward Party, Thailand’s progressive opposition group, submitted a draft law to the Parliament on Thursday. The proposed legislation aims to grant amnesty to thousands of people who were charged with crimes committed during political rallies in the past. These charges notably include offenses such as insulting the monarchy, which have drawn condemnation for not complying with international human rights standards.
The draft bill presented to Parliament aims to extend amnesty coverage to all political demonstrations held since 2006, encompassing a period marked by intermittent turbulence. The draft bill targets Thailand’s lesemajeste laws codified in Section 112 the Thai Criminal Code. The law states that those found guilty of insulting, defaming or threatening a member of Thailand’s royal family may be sentenced to prison for 3 to 15 year. In March, a man aged 33 was sentenced to two years in prison for placing a sticker onto a portrait depicting the king. It was the first time in more than a year that a sentence had been handed down under these laws. In April, an activist student aged 15 was arrested and released for allegedly defaming monarchy at a protest rally held in October 2022. In October, Arnon, a leader of the Thai pro-democracy movement, was denied bail by the Court of Appeal in Thailand for a speech that he gave during the October 2020 protests. Arnon Nampa called for an open discussion on the power of the Thai monarchy and its political role during the protests.