Thai lawmakers give initial approval to amnesty bill
BANGKOK (AP) - Thai lawmakers have given initial approval to a controversial bill that would grant amnesty to people charged with political offences during turmoil that began with a 2006 military coup.
The lower house of Parliament voted 300 to 124 on Thursday to accept the government-sponsored bill in principle after a two-day debate.
Critics of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra fear it is an initial move toward allowing his return from overseas where he fled to avoid jail after a conflict of interest conviction.
Mr Thaksin was ousted by the military after being accused of corruption and disrespect for the monarchy. His supporters and opponents have vied for power since then, sometimes violently.