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Thaksin Charged With Terrorism

MsExPat's picture

I guess I was wrong about the Red Shirts cutting a deal for Thaksin's immunity. Or maybe they did, and the government decided to renege. In any case, the arrest warrant's gone out and Thaksin Shinawatra, exiled former PM of Thailand, is now wanted in Thailand on terrorism charges.

Blogger Bangkok Pundit breaks down the indictment, translating the relevant sections of the Thai Criminal Code that Thaksin allegedly violated.

The proceedings took place behind closed doors, and the evidence that the government presented to the judges--beyond some videos of Thaksin, from his redoubt in Dubai, exhorting Red Shirts to go to the provinicial city halls to continue their struggle-- hasn't been made public.

Unless the government has better evidence than a couple of YouTube videos, this is looking lame, a purely political move that taints the authority of the Thai judiciary. And possibly makes it less likely that any foreign country will extradite him, since terrorism in Thailand is punishable by death.

OTOH, it's entirely possible the government really does have a money trail linking, say, the expensive infrastructure of the Bangkok protests (the generators, sound systems, vehicles, supplies, etc.) to Thaksin's interests. If that's the case, then they should make this public as soon as possible, to establish credibility.

Thaksin has hired a showboating Canadian lawyer named Robert Armstrong, whose main skill seems to be PR for a roster of rather shady international clients from Nigeria to Russia. His first (obvious) line of attack is to spin all the charges as false and politically motivated.

An interesting bit of diplomatic theater is shaping up here, even jucier than the Roman Polanski affair--especially if other countries (like, say France) decide to make Thaksin "unwelcome" so as to avoid having to take a stand in this murky situation. (He's already persona non grata here in Hong Kong). Thaksin has a passport from Montenegro, but the last I looked there are no Prada and Gucci outlets there.

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Submitted by lambert on

BP concludes:

Domestically in Thailand, am not so sure much will change. Many will raise questions on why the authorities were able to issue arrest warrants for Thaksin so quickly, but it is 18 months and no arrest warrants for terrorism offences have been issued for the PAD leaders in relation to the airport seizure. The quickness of the investigation could not be more stark.

Rather like the banksters getting their money NOW NOW NOW in our own context.

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

More like, say, indicting Bush and Paulson, instead of indicting them and also indicting Summers and Geithner, I'd say.

Thaksin is a neo-liberal corporatist, crony capitalist, big friend of Bush. Under Thaksin, Thailand enthusiastically joined the "Coalition of the Willing." And, speaking of violence, Thaksin's extra-judicial war on drugs killed an estimated 2,500 Thais.

That he's able to change his stripes and sell himself at home and abroad as a champion of the Thai underclass is certainly a "double standard" as egregious as any committed against him by the Thai government.

That's why I think it is so important that the Thai government goes after him for the right crimes, and with solid evidence, or leaves him alone. Because otherwise, Thakin wins the credibility game at home and abroad. He's so much better at PR and spin than they are.