The Criminal Court of Thailand has approved a request from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) for a warrant against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on terrorism charges. Following court testimony including clips of Mr. Thaksin speaking to the red-shirt protestors via video links, the terror warrant charges him of masterminding and funding the violent protest as well as the arson attacks that left 35 major buildings across the city in ruins on May 19.
After the court decision, Deputy Police Colonel Narat Savetanant said that DSI will begin the search for Mr. Thaksin and coordinate with his host countries for extradition. The government has failed to secure Mr. Thaksin’s extradition in October 2008, when he was sentenced to two years in prison over allegations of corruption and conflict of interest. However, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva expressed his belief that with the terrorism charge, which “the international community sees as an important issue,” and is “more understandable”, the extradition should prove easier.
In response to the warrant, Mr. Thaksin, last seen at the film festival in Cannes, denied the charge through his twitter, claiming that he was “framed as a terrorist with false evidence,” and that he is a committed pacifist.
Court Issues Thaksin terror warrant [Bangkok Post, 25 May 2010]
Thaksin Arrest Warrants Grow as Court Adds Terrorism Allegation [The CNN News, 25 May 2010]
The Big issue: The Hunt for red terrorists [Bangkok Post, 30 May 2010]