Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bangkok Post: Mission to London (Will Thaksin be extradited?)

Officials will travel to Britain next month to try to start extraditing ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife to face charges at home.An Office of the Attorney-General official, Samphan Sarathana, chief prosecutor for foreign litigation, said the mission would be made up of Thai prosecutors and senior foreign ministry officials.

He held a press conference following a meeting on Thursday on the possibility of using the extradition treaty between Thailand and Britain.

That meeting concluded that under British law the exiled couple have done nothing wrong in doing business with government agencies while Mr Thaksin was in power.

Therefore, there is a need for officials of the two countries to discuss otheer avenues to extradite Mr Thaksin and his wife Pojaman, now living in London, to fight charges in Thailand, said Mr Samphan.

The couple face arrest warrants after they failed to appear in the Supreme Court on August 14 to defend charges over the land purchase in Bangkok's prime business area by Mrs Pojaman at a much below-market price while her husband was prime minister.

Noppadol Pattama, legal advisor to Mr Thaksin, has said Mr Thaksin would certainly not return to Thailand, citing safety reasons to defend charges against him over the Ratchadaphisek land purchase scandal.

Mr Thaksin had earlier announced that he would return only after a general election has been held and democracy restored in Thailand.

The Supreme Court's criminal division for holders of political positions ordered the couple to appear before the court for the first hearing set on September 25.

The South Bangkok Criminal Court has also approved warrants for the couple on charges of concealing shareholdings in SC Asset.


I said it once and I will say it again, no British court or Home Office will extradite Thaksin back on the orders of an illegal military junta.

Sometimes I have to wonder what goes on in the minds of Thai government officials.

I don't think there is a case that exists where a democratically elected leader has been sent back from a western country into the hands of a military dictatorship.

One would think that the British embassy would send a back channel message to the foreign ministry that this would be a non-starter.

I have a feeling that this may be nothing but a propaganda ploy, so that the government can blame the British for their Thaksin problem, or it could be just an excuse to give a free vacation to Thai government officials. Will General Saprang be leading the delegation?


sooksiam said...

The story attracted your attention enough to make you feel that you had to articulate some comment about the mission to get him extradited back to Thailand. At least, I know you are not dead.

Trying to bring him back to Thailand; and so what? The whole concept of this extradition might only be an action, not a result. You can get the idea. They might just feel that they need to do something about the saga.

Del said...

"if at first you don't succeed, then try and try again . . ."

Thailand failed to get Pin Chakkapat extradited from UK. Thailand still had not succeeded to get Saxena (that BBC banker-scammer) extradited from Canada. I wonder was there any Thai criminal hiding abroad that Thailand had ever succeeded in getting extradited back to Thailand for prosecution?

But with practice, Thailand prosecutors could yet get their act together. With Thaksin's many fraudulent sins, maybe UK would relent to extradite our most wanted ex-PM back to Thailand.

Thai Observer said...

It seems to me there are 2 reasons for the visit, since the government must alreadu know there is a vanishingly small chance of an extradition, under all of the circumstances.

The first reason, as you have noted, is that this is a fine opportunity for grandstanding, and good PR too, it makes it seem as though the govt is actually doing something. But in the immortal words of Morgan Freeman, it only seems that way.

The second reason is that it gives some Thai pooyais a good opportunity to touch the robe, and hopefully impress politicians in a real democracy. Of course the only people they will actually impress is themselves but that was always the case with Thais.

Oh yes; there is a third. London is always a nice place for a bit of a trip. And if the people of Thailand are paying - well, why not?