Time Is Ticking For Thaksin

Friday, August 29, 2008 by Editor

LONDON -Tuesday's violent anti-government protests in Bangkok may be putting some long-distance pressure on Thailand's former prime minister, the telecommunications tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra, as he weighs his options far away from home in London.

Although it was unclear on Tuesday whether Shinawatra had taken any steps to obtain political asylum in Great Britain, after fleeing corruption charges in Thailand earlier this month with his wife, it is clear that the former leader's critics are getting intensely agitated by the perceived lack of urgency in hauling him back before the Thai courts.

Thousands of Thais took to the streets on Tuesday, storming the current government's compound and seizing a state television station. Reportedly brandishing pistols, knives and golf clubs, these rioters were tied to the pro-royalist and pro-military group known as the People's Alliance for Democracy--the very same group that organized a protest outside the British Embassy in Bangkok last week, demanding Shinawatra's extradition.

Although Shinawatra may very well try to claim that these riots demonstrate a credible threat to his life, enough to boost his chances of getting asylum at least, it is unlikely that this will be enough to avoid the pressure of lengthy extradition proceedings.

"When you are extradited, you aren't just thrown onto the streets in Thailand at the hands of the mob," said Colin Passmore, senior litigation partner at law firm Simmons & Simmons. "You are put in control of the judicial authorities. The real issue would be whether he gets a fair trial."

If Shinawatra is to be believed, a fair trial in Thailand is out of the question--he said as much when he fled the country, adding that he also feared for his family's safety. But this will not stop the Thai government from building a case to extradite Shinawatra if it so chooses, and protesters could pile the pressure on until then.

A spokesperson for the British interior ministry refused to confirm whether an extradition application had been filed or whether Shinawatra had applied for political asylum. A spokesman for Manchester City soccer team, which Shinawatra owns, said the Thai billionaire was still going through his available options with his lawyers.

On Monday, Thai prosecutors ordered the seizure of $2.2 billion in cash and assets from Shinawatra, in a bid to back up allegations of corruption and wrongdoing during the former leader's five-year premiership.



www.antithaksin.com said...

This is a comprehensive and well-selected collection of the news about the charges and Thaksin's reactions to them. It helps to explain why Thaksin and his gang have to be punnished for their crimes.
I would like to see more progress on these as dozen more of verdicts would come out, if the size of the blog would allow. This criminals criminalogist Thaksin must be exposed to the wicked bones. Keep it up,please.