Thaksin`s lawyers challenge `terrorism` arrest warrant

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.

PTI



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

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