Bangkok: Thailand has given its fugitive
former premier Thaksin Shinawatra his passport back, the
government said on Friday, despite strong opposition from the
ex-tycoon`s political opponents.
Thaksin, whose sister Yingluck is now prime minister,
received the document from the Thai embassy in Abu Dhabi in
October, the foreign ministry said.
Thaksin was stripped of his passport by the previous
Thai government but received citizenship from Montenegro last
year, allowing him to travel internationally.
Thaksin, who remains a hugely divisive figure, was
deposed by the army in 2006 and lives in Dubai to avoid a
two-year prison term on a conviction for corruption that he
contends is politically motivated.
"This normal passport has nothing to do with
extradition or whether he`s innocent, but only his
nationality," foreign ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi
"No government agency, including the police --
judiciary and interior ministry -- opposed the re-issue of
Thaksin`s passport," he said.
Thaksin`s sister Yingluck won a resounding election
victory earlier this year, in the wake of mass opposition
protests in 2010 by his "Red Shirt" supporters which ended
with a bloody army crackdown.
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told
reporters two weeks ago that Thailand would give Thaksin a
passport "very soon". Thani said Surapong had not been aware
at the time that the document had already been issued.
The announcement stoked tensions with Thaksin`s
enemies, already irked by recent reports -- denied by the
government -- of plans to seek a royal pardon for the
ex-premier that could allow him to return without serving