Thailand court issues new arrest warrant for ex-PM

[JURIST] The criminal division of the Thai Supreme Court [GlobaLex backgrounder] on Thursday issued a new arrest warrant for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The warrant comes at the request of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) [official website], which charges that Thaksin did not report all of his assets to the commission after the February ruling of the Constitutional Court [official website, in Thai] seizing 46.4 billion baht (USD $1.4 billion) [JURIST report] in assets for abuses of power while in office. The Supreme Court also suspended proceedings against Thaksin [Bangkok Post report] until he is arrested, noting that it considered the failure of either Thaksin or a representative to appear in court as an attempt to escape the warrant. Also on Thursday, Thai police recommended terrorism charges [DPA report] against Thaksin and 24 others for their involvement in the recent political violence [JURIST news archive] in Bangkok. Thaksin is considered the figurehead of the pro-democracy protesters known as the red shirts [BBC backgrounder] who protested against Thailand's current government and called for elections. The protests ended in May after protesters surrendered to police [JURIST report].

In May, a lawyer for Thaksin filed an appeal against a previous arrest warrant [JURIST report] issued on charges of terrorism in relation to the protests. Thaksin's lawyer was accompanied by two additional red shirt leaders [Bangkok Post report], who have sworn they will testify that Thaksin was not involved in any acts of terrorism if the court chooses to hear the appeal. The red shirts' protests in the capital's central commercial district paralyzed the country for two months, and Thaksin has been repeatedly accused of organizing and financing the campaign. The former prime minster was removed from power in 2006 [JURIST report] by a military coup and has been living abroad in Cambodia where the government has refused to extradite him [JURIST report] to Thailand for criminal prosecution.

 

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