Thai court to rule on Thaksin terrorism charges

Thailand’s criminal court will rule Tuesday on whether to issue a warrant to arrest fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra on terrorism charges in connection with deadly street rallies, officials said.

Department of Special Investigations (DSI) chief Tharith Pengdit said his agency, tasked with investigating violence surrounding the anti-government “Red Shirt” demonstrations, had submitted evidence on Thaksin’s involvement.

“The court has questioned three witnesses from DSI, and the DSI also submitted two more files of evidence which show Thaksin’s coordinating role,” Tharith told reporters Monday.

The government has accused Thaksin, a billionaire tycoon ousted in a 2006 coup, of bankrolling and masterminding Thailand’s worst political violence in recent history which has left 88 dead since the Reds’ rallies erupted in March. Thaksin lives in exile to avoid a jail sentence for corruption, but the government has exerted pressure on countries he has visited and moved to freeze his finances.

Terrorism charges carry a maximum penalty of death in Thailand, but the warrant appears aimed at boosting attempts to extradite Thaksin who has found sanctuary in several countries.

Defence lawyer Thanadej Puangpool told reporters the court refused his objection to the terrorism charges, ruling that his power of attorney does not apply to the case.

Human Rights Watch has expressed concern about the treatment of anti-government protesters detained during Thailand’s latest round of political violence. The group is chiding the Thai government for enacting an emergency decree giving Thai security forces broad power to arrest individuals without formal charges and hold them in secret detention. The decree, which lacks judicial oversight, also prevents detainees from having access to legal counsel or family members.

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2 Responses

  1. […] by the Red Shirts, said on Monday it had submitted evidence “which show Thaksin’s coordinating role” in the […]

  2. […] filed an appeal against an arrest warrant issued Tuesday on charges of terrorism. Thaksin is accused of involvement in the the recent political violence in Bangkok, as the figurehead of the […]

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