Only he or his family may present one legally, premier is advised
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday that the petition by supporters of ex-premier Shinawatra Thaksin to seek Royal clemency for him would be rejected as it did not conform to legal criteria.
Abhisit said Thaksin himself or his family must be the petitioners. He said normally the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary would seek the government’s opinion about the petition and if the government believed the petition did not conform to the criteria, it could dismiss it on the grounds of legality.
He said that if the red shirts filed a general-complaint petition, the government would look into the matter but a political petition was another matter.
The prime minister said he had instructed caretaker national police chief General Wichian Pojphosri to try to prevent clashes between two political rival groups with events expected to take place close to each other tomorrow.
One event is the verdict in the rubber-sapling case to be read at the Supreme Court’s Political Division for Political Office Holders. One of the defendants is Newin Chidchob, a core leader of the Bhum Jai Thai Party.
Newin’s supporters the blue shirts are expected to turn up at the court, which is located just across the road from Sanam Luang, where the red shirts plan to gather in a show of force before filing the petition for Thaksin.
The PM urged the red shirts to rally within the frame of the law after a report that they planned to stage a protest outside Government House. “The country is moving forward: do not let it trip,” he said.
Meanwhile the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will send 200 municipal police to check CCTVs installed at significant spots around Sanam Luang yesterday night to ensure that they work properly, and security officials will stand by at some spots to prevent anyone from damaging the CCTVs. Mobile medical units will also be sent to the area tomorrow morning.
Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Thanathip Sawangsaeng said the military was ready to help police if they needed its support to keep the peace in the capital.
Veera Musikapong, a leader of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship, said the red-shirt rally would start in the morning at Sanam Luang with Thaksin phoning in to thank his supporters, who would move to the Bureau of the Royal Household at 1pm. They will sing the royal anthem before dispersing at 2pm, he said.
He said there would not be any clash even if the red shirts were provoked.
Special Branch Police Bureau commissioner Lt-General Theeradet Rodpothong said police expected about 20,000 red shirts from 50 provinces would come to Bangkok to attend the rally.
Meanwhile, Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Sciences dean Charat Suwanmala lectured yesterday on petitioning for clemency, saying laws in most countries opposes amnesty for politicians convicted of conflict of interest.
“If politicians are sentenced to jail and a government siding with them legislates to grant amnesty, the justice system is under the influence of lawmakers and the government, and the balance of power is disrupted,” he said.
By THE NATION ON SUNDAY
Published on August 16, 2009