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Thai PAD urges UK to extradite Thaksin


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August 18, 2008

Thai PAD urges UK to extradite Thaksin

Thailand’s anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Sunday urged the British government to send home the ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra for court trial on alleged corruption and malfeasance charges, reported the Thai News Agency (TNA).

The national news agency quoted PAD core leader Sondhi Limthongkul as saying that Thaksin should not be considered “a political refugee but a criminal who has eluded the country’s criminal law” and his flight to Britain proved that the corruption charges against him were true.

Thaksin should display courage and return to Thailand to face the charges, Sondhi said.

Thailand’s Office of the Attorney-General, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and related government agencies must more quickly act to return Thaksin to stand trial, he said.

The foreign ministry must also revoke Thaksin’s diplomatic passport, otherwise the PAD would take legal action against the ministry.

Sondhi’s remarks were made as the so-called democracy protesters prepare to march to the British Embassy on Tuesday to rebut negative remarks made by Thaksin against the Thai judiciary.

Toppled in a bloodless coup in September 2006, multi-billionaire Thaksin and his wife flew from Beijing to London, ignoring a court date in Bangkok, after attending the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

The couple failed to appear last Monday at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to defend themselves against charges related to the Bangkok land scandal which occurred in 2003 while he was in power.

The Court on that day issued arrest warrants for the couple and also confiscated bail totalling 13 million baht ($389,000).

In order to strengthen relations between the Thais and English people, the PAD would like to request the British government to send him back to “stand on court trial here without condition,” Sondhi said.

In another development, a survey conducted by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University’s Dusit Poll on 2,312 people nationwide found slightly over one-third of the respondents, at 34.55 percent, agreed that the decision by Thaksin and his wife Pojaman to flee to Britain proved their guilt, while 21.58 percent opposed the escape and 20.67 percent wanted legal action be taken against them.

The survey showed that 29.44 percent of the total respondents wanted the Thai government to negotiate with the British government to send Mr. Thaksin back to Thailand.

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