Thailand probes Amnesty International after ultra-royalist complaint


FILE PHOTO: A person holds a portrait of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, as royalists wait for the arrival of royal couple, in Bangkok, Thailand, November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa//File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand is investigating whether Amnesty International has broken any laws, its prime minister said on Friday, after ultra-royalists called for the human rights group to be expelled for its support of activists facing prosecution.

An ultra-royalist group sent a letter to the government on Thursday saying Amnesty's campaigns to bring an end to criminal charges against protesters calling for reforms of the monarchy had undermined national security.

More than 1,600 activists are now facing security-related charges, including at least 160 people charged under Thailand's strict laws against insulting the monarchy, which carry a potential prison term of up to 15 years.

Traditionalist Thais consider the monarchy sacrosanct and view insults to King Maha Vajiralongkorn as a threat to the fabric of society. Youth-led protests which started last year have challenged the decades-old taboos against any criticism of the king.

Asked about the royalists' request at a news conference, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, said: "We are checking whether there are any violations to the law and this involves the police and the interior ministry."

"If there are wrongdoings, then it (Amnesty's licence) will be revoked," he added.

Amnesty said in a statement that it has been in Thailand for several decades and will continue to work on preventing, monitoring and holding states, corporations and others accountable for human rights abuses under international law.

"We will continue to do this independently and impartially on the basis of facts," said Amnesty, which is among several human rights groups that have been vocal about the Thai government's prosecution of political activists.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by John Geddie, William Maclean)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

Spain's foreign minister says Europeans are 'united' on Ukraine crisis
Australia PM says AUKUS pact to ensure peace, security in Indo-Pacific
German health minister sees possible tripling of coronavirus infections by mid-Feb
Lula could win Brazil's October election in first round - poll
Activision employees say they’re optimistic about acquisition by Microsoft
Germany's Scholz, UK's Johnson discussed Ukraine border situation
Russian parliament to discuss recognising rebel-held east Ukraine as independent
At least 17 dead after explosion in Ghana mining region
British minister says claims of lawmaker blackmail unlikely to be true
Scotland split on support for independence, poll shows

Others Also Read


Vouchers