Thai court presses terror charges against Thaksin

A Thai court ordered an arrest warrant on Tuesday for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on terrorism charges, accusing the fugitive leader of a role in fomenting two months of unrest in Bangkok that left 88 people dead. Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and later fled abroad ahead of a corruption conviction, has been accused by the government of being a key force behind Red Shirt protesters who seized areas of downtown Bangkok before being overcome by army troops last week.
The criminal court issued the charges, which carry a death penalty, a day after testimony by the department of special investigations into Thaksin’s alleged involvement in the protests. The department alleged that Thaksin committed, threatened to commit or supported terrorist acts, but the court gave no further details.
Criminal court Judge Krerkrit Ittarat said it was up to the department to proceed with prosecution of the case and coordinate Thaksin’s extradition with the foreign ministry. The government has to date been unable to secure his extradition on the previous charges.
Thaksin already is barred from entry from most European countries including Britain, where he had earlier lived, but United Arab Emirates authorities have said he could remain as long as he refrained from political activities while on their soil. Shortly after the announcement, Thaksin tweeted that the “government put weapons in my hands. My charge was based on false evidence.” Thaksin’s lawyer, the London-based Robert Amsterdam, said the government “has perverted justice through the laying of a charge that violates logic, law and any claim of hopes for reconciliation.”

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‘Accusation is politically motivated’
Bangkok, May 25: Fugitive ex-Thai Premier Thaksin Shinawatra labelled an arrest warrant against him on terrorism charges “politically motivated” on Tuesday and accused the government of human rights abuses.
“During my entire political career I have adhered to non-violence and the constitutional monarchy,” he said in a statement issued in Bangkok. “I have never supported violence,” Thaksin said. “The arrest warrant against me is unfair. I am ready to prove that I am not a terrorist and the accusation is politically motivated.” —AFP

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