Thai prosecutors on 22 Oct began gathering evidence to submit to Britain asking for the extradition of ousted Premier Thaksin Shinawatra, after he was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail. This followed the decision of the Supreme Court on 21 Oct that found Mr Thaksin guilty of violating corruption laws when he helped his wife buy a cut-price lot of government land.
A British Home Office spokesman said earlier this month that Mr Thaksin and his wife Pojaman had applied for political asylum. Mr Thaksin and his wife fled to Britain in August this year saying they would not get a fair trial on corruption charges back home.
Mr Thaksin was overthrown in a military coup in September 2006, and the junta set up a corruption investigation unit to look into alleged abuses of power. So far, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear five cases against Mr Thaksin. The land deal verdict on Tuesday was the first judgment against Mr Thaksin since the coup.
An attempt to extradite Mr Thaksin during his first period in exile after the coup got bogged down in complexities, as the charges he faced in Thailand may not be covered by the extradition treaty with Britain. Under the two key provisions of the AngloThai Treaty, the extradition is warranted if the fugitive convict is penalised by a jail term of more than one year and if the conviction involves wrongdoing deemed an offence both by English and Thai laws.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Thaksin was reported to remain confident he would be able to remain in Britain. He already has several warrants out for him him in other corruption cases. Thaksin said he would expose the flaws of the court by distributing translations of testimony from the case to the international community.
Meanwhile Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called for the fugitive Thaksin should humble himself and accept his verdict and sentencing on the Ratchadapisek land case. Abhisit warned Thaksin that it was a futile exercise to smear the judiciary in order to make political gains.
eople's Alliance for Democracy leader Pipop Thongchai said Thaksin had no right to be critical of his conviction because he fled to England instead of standing trial. Pipop said the Thai judiciary is always fair and just, but Thaksin has decided to waiver his right to defend himself.
The Nation,23 Oct, “ Thaksin rejects 'political' court verdict”, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2008/10/23/politics/politics_30086673.ph...
TODAY, 23 Oct, Thaksin extradition process begins: