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Thailand military coup leader supports amnesty for ousted PM

[JURIST] Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin [BBC profile], the leader of Thailand's 2006 bloodless coup [JURIST report], said Friday on state television that he backs amnesty for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile] and his party leaders. The remarks follow Wednesday's Constitutional Court [official website, in Thai] ruling that banned Shinawatra from politics [JURIST report] and dissolved his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) [party website, in Thai] party. Boonyaratglin said that an amnesty bill would have to be proposed by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, and approved by the parliament. Both Chulanont and the parliament were appointed by Boonyaratglin and the army. Boonyaratglin also said that other coup leaders agree with his calls for amnesty.

Even as Boonyaratglin spoke, supporters of Shinawatra and his party protested in Bangkok, clashing with unarmed police officers [JURIST report]. On Wednesday, TRT's rival party Democratic Party [party website] was cleared of any wrongdoing in the same ruling that banned TRT; the Democratic Party is now largely unopposed in Thailand. Shinawatra, in exile in London, asked his supporters to remain calm. He still could face trial on charges of corruption [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

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