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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                   10  September 2011

Pheu Thai wants Thaksin back

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In case there has ever been a question about it, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yumbamrung said on Friday that the Pheu Thai party would continue to pursue an amnesty for fugitive prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. After all, his youngest sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is the current prime minister.

Thailand’s Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions found Mr. Thaksin guilty of helping his then-wife, Potjaman na Pombejra, purchase land at a discounted price.

About 3.6 million supporters of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) had signed the petition for Thaksin's amnesty in August 2009 and submitted it to the Abhisit government.

It was not until early this week that the Justice Ministry announced it had completed verifying the signatures.

Even if Mr. Thaksin were somehow absolved from his 2-year sentence, his return could be problematic as there are several more legal cases pending against him including terrorism in connection with the red shirt siege of Bangkok that ended on May 19, 2010. Terrorism carries the death penalty.

Most legal experts say there is little chance of Mr. Thaksin’s case being reversed by the courts. Thailand still remains politically divided and a reversal of the decision could set off anti-Thaksin forces in the country.



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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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