Pattaya Daily News

15 August 2007 :: 11:08:55 am 29418

Arrest Warrants Issued Against Thaksin

The Supreme Court’s political crime section issued arrest warrants for Thailand‘s former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who served as the country‘s leader in 2001-2006 before being ousted by a coup d‘etat, became a fugitive from justice on Tuesday after he and his wife failed to appear for the first hearing in the 772 Million baht land purchase case
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Their lawyers, Pichit Chuenbarn and Apisak Apassomphob argued that the couple did not appear at the hearing out of fear for their lives. Mr Thaksin and his wife would appear in court within 30 days of an elected government being installed, they said.

The lawyers also said the couple’s current addresses were in Britain and asked the court to have the summonses delivered there. The court rejected the lawyers’ argument and issued arrest warrants as it is considered that Thailand addresses are their real addresses

Thaksin was overthrown in a coup d’etat in September last year after demonstrations calling for him to step down because of alleged corruption and abuse of power as the prime minister to influence the purchase of the 33 Rais plot of land by his wife from the Financial Institutions Development Fund in 2003.

Army commander General Sonthi Boonyaratglin said in June that the former prime minister might be harmed by his enemies if he returned to Thailand, though interim Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont – appointed by the military – said the government would ensure Thaksin’s safety if he returned.

Their lawyer Pichit had also said Thaksin’s safety could not be assured if he returned to Thailand, and that it was in the interest of post-coup national reconciliation that he not return until after a new election, expected in December.

In the wake of the coup, an “assets examination committee” established by the military-appointed government investigated the purchase of land from an arm of the Bank of Thailand at an auction in which other bidders dropped out.

If convicted, Thaksin faces up to 10 years in jail. The committee is demanding the purchase be set aside, the land returned and the money confiscated.

”I am aware of the decision in Thailand,” statement. ”I shall consult with my legal advisers and make an announcement in due course.” Thaksin said in an e-mailed.

Since June, the government has frozen about $2 billion belonging to Thaksin and his family, pending the outcome of other court cases related to charges of corruption and abuse of power.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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