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Thailand PM rejects amnesty proposal from opposition group

Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday rejected a proposal by an opposition party seeking a referendum to grant amnesty to those involved in a military coup in 2006. The referendum was proposed [Bangkok Post report] by the Pheu Thai Party, supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive], who was ousted in the coup. However, the current prime minister questioned both the constitutionality and wisdom of such a referendum, fearing that it may cause further social division within the country.

Thailand's political system has remained unstable following the coup and the more recent violent protests took place in Bangkok last spring. In February, seven leaders of Thailand's "red-shirt" [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] pro-democracy movement, another group that opposes the country's current leadership, were released on bail [JURIST report]. They were arrested on terrorism charges stemming from their involvement in the anti-government protests [JURIST news archive] in Bangkok. In January, members of the movement also petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to launch a preliminary investigation [JURIST report] into whether the government committed crimes against humanity during those protests.

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