Thaksin Charged With Terrorism
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.