Thailand’s progressive opposition party, the Move Forward Party submitted on Thursday a draft bill to Parliament. The proposed legislation seeks to establish amnesty for potentially thousands of individuals who have been charged with various crimes during political rallies since 2006. 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. Over these years, Thailand experienced two coups, the removal of three prime ministers through judicial action, and enduring, occasionally violent, street protests.
The draft bill targets Thailand’s lèse-majesté laws, codified under Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code. This law stipulates that anyone found guilty of defaming, insulting or threatening any member of Thailand’s monarchy may face imprisonment ranging from 3 to 15 years.
Recent cases have brought international attention to Thailand’s enforcement of lèse-majesté laws. In March, a 33-year-old man received a two-year prison sentence for insulting the monarchy by placing a sticker on a portrait of the king. This marked the first sentencing under these laws in over a year. In April, a 15-year-old student activist was detained and then released after allegedly defaming the monarchy during a protest rally in October 2022. Most recently, in October, the Court of Appeal in Thailand denied bail to Arnon Nampa, a prominent leader of the Thai protest movement for a speech he delivered during pro-democracy protests in October 2020. At the protests, Arnon called for open discussions on the power and political role of the Thai monarchy.