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Thai military rulers may seek Thaksin extradition from UK

[JURIST] A spokesman for Thailand's new military leadership which seized power [JURIST report] in a bloodless coup last week has said that the new government wants to bring deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile] to justice and could seek his extradition from the UK. Thaksin, a billionaire, maintains a residence in London and flew there from New York where he had been scheduled to address the 61st session of the UN General Assembly when the coup occurred. Major General Thawip Netniyom, speaking for the self-styled Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy, told the Times of London, "If we have the evidence that he is guilty of something or he has done something against the law, most probably we will send a letter to the British Government about it. If (we) prove ... someone has done something wrong, and we leave it, that means we are not doing our job." Thai officials have already ratcheted up their investigation of possible corruption in the Thaksin regime, with some 10 allegations being probed. Thawip nonetheless acknowledged that the coup itself had been illegal, using a simile drawn from his experience as head of the Thai military's information technology division: "It is against the law. If I say it's not against the law, I shouldn't be here...But sometimes, to break the deadlock, someone has to do something. Just like when your computer is hung and you cannot do anything about it, what you're going to do is push the reset button or unplug it, and that's the only way to solve it." The Times has more.

Meanwhile UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour called on the Thai military government Monday to restore fundamental freedoms in the country, saying in a statement [text] from Geneva that "The forcible and unconstitutional replacement of Thailand’s freely-elected Government on 19 September, the establishment of martial law, the abolition of the 1997 Constitution, the dissolution of Parliament and the Cabinet as well as the disbanding of the Constitutional Court, have raised important human rights concerns." Noting that "The various decrees issued by the CDRM restrict a number of basic human rights, such as the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention", she reminded the country's new leaders of Thailand's obligations under various international human rights instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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