Thai prosecutors prepare Thaksin extradition case

October 22, 2008 12:00 am

, BANGKOK, October 22 – Thai prosecutors on Wednesday began gathering evidence to submit to Britain asking for the extradition of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, after he was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday found Thaksin guilty of violating corruption laws when he helped his wife buy a cut-price lot of government land.

"The extradition process began today (Wednesday)," said Sirisak Tiyapan, international affairs director at the attorney general’s office.

"The special litigation department will copy the verdict and translate it into English, before we prepare case details.

"All documents must be translated into English before we can prepare the petition and that will take considerable time in our petition, we have to prove Thaksin committed a crime that is common between the two countries."

Once all the paperwork is complete, the attorney general will forward a petition to the foreign ministry, which could lodge it with the Thai embassy in London or file it through the British embassy in Bangkok, said Sirisak.

A British Home Office spokesman said earlier this month that Thaksin and his wife Pojaman had applied for political asylum, although people close to Thaksin were quoted in local media Wednesday as saying that report was not true.

Thaksin and Pojaman fled to Britain in August this year saying they would not get a fair trial on corruption charges back home.

Thaksin was overthrown in a military coup in September 2006, and the junta set up a corruption investigation unit to look into alleged abuses of power. So far, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear five cases against Thaksin.

The land deal verdict on Tuesday was the first judgement against Thaksin since the putsch.

An attempt to extradite Thaksin during his first period in exile after the coup got bogged down in complexities, as the charges he faced in Thailand were not covered by the extradition treaty with Britain.


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