Thaksin says he has no plans to return home
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 20:30
Seoul: Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra said on Wednesday he has no plans to return home, following suggestions that the current government headed by his sister may seek to pardon him.

Thaksin told a news conference in South Korea that he would not return until “reconciliation really happens" in his homeland.

Royal pardons are granted each December 5 on the birthday of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thai media reported last week that this year's decree -- which needs to be approved by the king -- would be expanded to apply to "convicts who are at least 60 years old and are sentenced to under three years in jail".

Thaksin, who was ousted by the army in a 2006 coup, is 62 and lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to avoid a two-year sentence for graft.

His potential pardon had threatened to inflame tensions in Thailand, with rallies both for and against the decree held in recent days.

Thaksin, speaking during a private visit to South Korea, said he had been the victim of injustice since the 2006 coup "but I'm ready to sacrifice and stay outside until the whole country brings back reconciliation and unity.

"So I would not go back home until the reconciliation really happens," he said in English. "I don't want to be part of the problem but I want to be part of the solution."

The Thai government late Sunday ruled out a pardon after strong criticism from opponents of a reported draft decree.

"(Thaksin) will not receive any benefit" from this year's royal pardon, Justice Minister Pracha Promnok told reporters.


First Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 20:30

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