Lawyers seek Thaksin extradition

Thai prosecutors to push UK for extradition of the former PM following graft conviction.

    Anti-Thaksin protesters say they want the former PM to be sent back to jail in Thailand [EPA]

    The UK and Thailand have had an extradition agreement since 1911, but cross-border extradition procedures can be lengthy and complicated and exceptions are often made for cases deemed politically-motivated.

    Clive Nicholls, an expert on extradition law, told Al Jazeera that under UK law extradition can be denied if the court accepts Thaksin's claims about being a victim of political conspiracy and that his personal safety is at stake.

    "If he could show that they were politically motivated it would mean that the proceedings were brought in Thailand, and [that] his extradition was being sought for collateral reasons - in other words … not in the interest of justice and not for the ordinary administration of justice."

    Life in exile

    Thaksin, who made his fortune in the Thai telecoms business, has repeatedly dismissed the corruption charges against him as fabricated by his political enemies.

    "I want to be a prominent businessman in the UK if the British people will welcome me"

    Thaksin Shinawatra, former Thai PM

    The billionaire politician also faces a string of other cases involving alleged corruption and abuse of power.

    Shortly after the verdict Thaksin, who last month sold English Premier League football club Manchester City to Abu Dhabi investors, said he was confident he would be able to remain in Britain.

    "I was waiting for today before planning my life," he said, denying reports that he planned to seek political asylum in the UK.

    "I want to be a prominent businessman in the UK if the British people will welcome me."

    Thaksin, who became the first Thai prime minister to complete his first term and be re-elected, was ousted in a military coup in September 2006 but remains the country's most influential politician.

    Meanwhile anti-government protesters in Bangkok said the verdict would not satisfy their demands for a change in leadership.

    Thailand's current prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat, is Thaksin's brother-in-law and has been the target of ongoing street demonstrations by critics who brand him a Thaksin puppet.

    Many fear that Tuesday's court ruling could embolden anti-Thaksin critics and prolong a political stalemate that has paralysed the Thai government since protesters laid siege to the prime minister's office complex on August 26, staging aggressive street demonstrations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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