Thaksin`s lawyers challenge `terrorism` arrest warrant
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Last Updated: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 19:24
Bangkok: Lawyers for Thaksin Shinawatra asked a court Wednesday to revoke a warrant to arrest the fugitive former Thai premier on terrorism charges in connection with recent deadly protests.

Thailand's Criminal Court yesterday approved the warrant after the government accused Thaksin of inciting unrest and bankrolling the mass rallies by opposition "Red Shirt" protesters, many of whom seek his return to power.

"The arrest warrant was wrongly issued and based on inaccurate evidence and distorted information," Thaksin's lawyer Thanadej Puangpool said.

"Thaksin's lawyers had no chance to defend him during the court hearing before it decided to issue the warrant," he said, adding that a ruling was expected on June 18 on the request.

Thaksin was ousted in a bloodless military coup in 2006 and lives in self-imposed exile, mainly in Dubai, to avoid a jail term for corruption.

He said in a statement issued Tuesday that the terrorism charges were "politically motivated".

If found guilty, Thaksin could in theory face the death penalty, but the warrant appears aimed at boosting attempts to extradite the tycoon-turned-premier, who has found sanctuary in several countries.

The government has exerted pressure on countries he has visited and has moved to freeze his finances.

The Reds' street rallies, which were broken up last week by the army, paralysed central Bangkok and sparked several outbreaks of violence that left 88 people dead since mid-March, mostly civilians, and nearly 1,900 injured.


First Published: Wednesday, May 26, 2010, 19:24

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