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
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.