Letters from PAD to U.K. Ambassador to Thailand

Monday, August 18, 2008 by Editor

August 19th , 2008

His Excellency
Mr. Quinton Mark Quayle
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland to Thailand

Your Excellency,

With reference to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Khun Ying Pojaman Shinawatra, having jumped bail and fleeing to London last weekend and the subsequent arrest warrants issued by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders for the above-mentioned fugitives, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) wishes to draw the British Government’s attention to the following points:

1) On 14 August 2008, during a session in the House of Representatives, Mr. Tej Bunnag, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, was asked about the impact of Former Prime Minister Thaksin’s statement on the image of Thailand’s judiciary system. In response, Minister Tej read to the House an official statement by the Kingdom’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Thailand's judicial system saying that

“the Thai judicial system's internal, meticulous, and democratic selection process for judges has garnered widespread acceptance and respect from Thai society for its professionalism, high ethical standards, and independence from outside interference. For these reasons, the Thai public has always had strong faith in the integrity and impartiality of the Thai judiciary and knows that it can be counted upon”.

(Details of the Foreign Minister's answers are contained in the Press Release of the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attached herewith.)

2) The original meaning of “democracy” is not merely majority rule but the capacity to do things, especially the capacity to pursue change in the public realm. Through popular, legal, and sovereign measures Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was recently brought on trial.

Thaksin was charged with abusing his power as prime minister by securing insider deals on real-estate purchases for family members. This is the first time in Thai political history that a former prime minister was brought on trial.

No doubt, as part of the governed, we see it as a positive sign, especially in terms of the rule of law and the transformation of the public sphere based on accountability and equality.

It shows that crimes are of great consequences regardless of the perpetrator's identity.

Used to living in a world of fixed heirarchies and gross inequalities, Thaksin fled the indictment to London and is planning to seek asylum in Britain.

Thaksin's request for political asylum in Britain must be turned down. If Thaksin is not brought back to face the charges against him in Thai courts, it will further contribute to the political and democratic deadlock and undermine the capacity to transform the public realm.

If Thaksin's request is met, it will set terrible precedence for other rich, powerful, and non-democratic figures in Thailand as well as elsewhere to follow suit.

3) Given the long and amicable relations between the monarchies as well as the peoples of the two states and taking into consideration the importance of the rule of law and democratization in Thailand, the sensible step to take is to deny political asylum to the fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, a move that would send the correct democratic message to Thailand and the rest of the world.

People's Alliance for Democracy