Forty-seven red-shirt protesters who were sentenced in relation to the April-May 2010 political turmoil were moved to a special prison in Bangkok’s Lak Si district yesterday – a move that was met with jubilation by some 50 relatives and friends.
Thaksin Shinawatra’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam, who was at the Lak Si Special Detention Centre to witness the event, called it “a historic moment” for Thailand. “Thailand is recognising political prisoners, and this is the first step in getting rid of the double standards that are besetting Thai society,” Amsterdam told The Nation.
Thida Tavornsaet Tojirakarn, chairwoman of the red-shirt Democrat Alliance against Dictatorship, called on the government to move all prisoners held over lese majeste charges to be moved to the new facility for “the sake of reconciliation”. The Yingluck Shinawatra government had earlier indicated that it would consult with the Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand on how many of those detained under the lese majeste law should be moved to the special prison.
She said the reds had always pleaded for this as she cited the case of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, editor of Red Power magazine, who has been in jail on lese majeste charges since mid-2011. “May I plead [for the move to be made] as a solution, because no matter what, this place is still a prison,” she said.