A House committee scrutinising the controversial amnesty bill has been drawn into a debate about the coverage to be offered by the draft legislation during its ninth meeting yesterday.
The debate centres on Section 3 which is a central feature of the seven-section bill as it defines the offences which will be covered by the proposed amnesty.
The bill, put forward by Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan Worachai Hema, seeks to provide an amnesty for people involved in political unrest between Sept 19, 2006 and May 10, 2011.
The pre-scrutiny version of the bill seeks to exclude from its coverage ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the protest leaders and authorities responsible for the crackdowns but include all others previously convicted of crimes relating to political violence.
The committee is made up of MPs from the ruling Pheu Thai Party and the opposition Democrat Party.
The Democrats on the committee yesterday criticised the section for being too broad and lacking clarity. They said the section is hard to interpret and to put into action, and it could also allow those who do not deserve to get amnesty to take advantage of the bill. The section is aimed at granting amnesty to those who participated in political protests as well as those who did not directly take part but committed offences relating to political violence, such as verbally instigating public disturbances, and resisting operations by state authorities.
Democrat MP Thana Chiravinij said the section was too broad and the bill could be exploited for the wrong reasons.
He said people who carried weapons and took part in gatherings, or looters who stole goods at department stores during the political violence could take advantage of the amnesty.