Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not the Time

The government is currently working on a plan that could result in amnesty for former Prime Minister Thaksin.  While the details have been described by the Deputy Prime Minister as still "secret", there have been reports that the amnesty would include anyone with a jail sentence under three years.  The former Prime Minister left the country before he was sentenced to two years, and would seem to qualify.  As I understand it, the amnesty bill would be presented to the King for his signature.  It is not uncommon for the King to issue pardons on his birthday, December 5th.

Personally, I don't have really strong feelings either way about whether the former PM should be pardoned.  I certainly do not agree with the military coup that overthrew him, and I think it is certainly possible that his conviction was politically motivated.  I do feel pretty strongly that this is absolutely the wrong time to deal with this issue.  This is an extremely decisive issue amongst Thais, and to bring it up while we are in the midst of Thailand's greatest flood in fifty years is irresponsible.  Shouldn't the government's time and efforts be spent on helping the hundreds of thousands of Thais, many of them very poor, who have lost so much to the flood waters instead of securing the return of a billionaire.  

I understand that if he misses this window, perhaps he would have to wait another year for the King's amnesty.  So many Thai people have made so many scarifies during this flood, is it too much to ask for billionaire residing in opulent exile to wait a little longer?

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