Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thailand: Lawyer for pro-democracy movement criticizes move by Thai PM to hold campaign rally at site of mass killings of protesters

SOURCE Amsterdam & Peroff LLP

A lawyer representing Thailand's Red Shirt pro-democracy movement has criticized a move by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (photo) to hold an election campaign rally at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok, the site of mass killings of protesters by the Army in May 2010.

"It's not only a profound insult to the victims and survivors, Prime Minister Abhisit is flaunting his denial of responsibility for this atrocity in an attempt to provoke Red Shirts and shore up support among his political base," said Robert Amsterdam, lawyer for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), who has filed an application before the International Criminal Court requesting an independent investigation into the political violence last year. "It is thoroughly indefensible that the current Thai leadership have failed to investigate or hold anyone responsible for these horrific human rights violations by the Army, but it is altogether more grotesque that the Prime Minister is incorporating these issues into his campaign with this event. He has now lost any remaining credibility to speak the language of reconciliation."

Today Amsterdam & Peroff LLP are announcing the release to two new critical white papers detailing the false use of terrorism charges against the opposition and the unlawful tactics used by the Democrat Party to manipulate election results. Numerous Red Shirt leaders, such as Jatuporn Prompan and Nisit Sinthuprai, continue to be imprisoned and denied bail on completely fabricated terrorism charges, says Amsterdam, while there are also widespread perceptions that opposition party Pheu Thai "won't be allowed" to form a government even if they triumph at the ballot box.

"In light of Prime Minister Abhisit's affront to the hundreds of Thai citizens who lost family members in last year's Bangkok massacres, these briefings seek to deconstruct the undemocratic methods of the ruling party, and expose the unfair nature of the Thai political system," said Amsterdam.

The first report, entitled "Mark of the Beast: Branding Opposition as 'Terrorism' in Thailand," argues that the charges laid against the Red Shirt leadership do not meet international standards for the definition of terrorism, and that "it is much too convenient for the government to continue to use these incidents as an excuse to kill, imprison, and slander Red Shirts who have no known links to the crimes in questions, while stonewalling attempts to establish who really committed these acts and why."

The second report, entitled "Loser Take All: The Democrat's Playbook to Steal the Election," focuses on the anti-democratic forces which have taken root in Thailand since the 2006 coup, including unlawful party dissolutions and the new constitution which allows the judiciary to intervene to change parliamentary seats despite election outcomes. "The Democrat Party and its associates are laying the groundwork for once again undoing the election results in the event of an opposition victory," the report argues. "This entails framing opposition candidates that the Election Commission might subsequently disqualify owing to presumed irregularities, as well as fabricating cases against opposition leaders and executives that might subsequently allow the Constitutional Court to dissolve Pheu Thai."

These two new white papers represent the final installments of the five-part Thailand 2011 General Election Report Series published by Amsterdam & Peroff LLP. All reports and other materials relating to Thailand's human rights crimes against the Red Shirt movement are available for download at