Thailand officials deny Thaksin accusations of judicial bias

[JURIST] Thailand Supreme Court vice president Krairiksh Kasemsant and army General Anupong Paochinda on Wednesday said there was no evidence to support accusations by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] that the country's judiciary is biased against the former leader. Thaksin,who faces numerous corruption charges, most recently made the claim Monday when he announced that he and his wife Pojamarn Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] would not return to Thailand [JURIST report] from a trip to the UK. The two had been out on bail, and the Supreme Court issued warrants for their arrest [Bangkok Post report] when they failed to make a court appearance. The Thai government is reportedly seeking their extradition [Bloomberg report] from the UK and will retain their nearly $400,000 in bail. Earlier this month, the Constitutional Court of Thailand [official website, in Thai] rejected [JURIST report] Thaksin's constitutional challenge to the commission that had brought charges against him. Thaksin had argued that the commission's governing statute imposed an unreasonable violation of his and his wife's rights to individual liberty. From Thailand, the Nation has local coverage.

In July, the Thai Attorney General's Office filed corruption charges [JURIST report] against Thaksin for his role in a 2003 resolution that reduced fees paid by mobile phone companies to state telecommunications agencies. In April, Pojamarn pleaded not guilty to charges [JURIST reports] of conflict of interest and malfeasance stemming from a 2003 agreement with the government-directed Financial Institutions Development Fund [official website] to purchase land said to be worth three times more than the $26 million she paid for it. Lawyers for Thaksin have been jailed [JURIST report] for attempting to bribe court officials in one of Thaksin's cases, and current Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej [BBC profile] is facing possible impeachment proceedings [JURIST report] due in part to his party's close association with Thaksin. Thaksin and Pojamarn had been in self-imposed exile from Thailand after Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006, but had returned to the country earlier this year [JURIST reports].



 

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