Letter to His Excellency Mr. Quinton Mark Quayle, United Kingdom Ambassador to Thailand on the extradition of Thaksin and Pojamarn Shinawatra
October 30, 2008
His Excellency Quinton Mark Quayle
Ambassador of the United Kingdom
Thailand, Bangkok, British Embassy
14 Wireless Road
We, the People’s Alliance for Democracy, believe your government will be making a grave mistake by allowing former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife, Pojamarn Shinawatra, asylum in the United Kingdom. We ask that you forward this letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Members of Parliament in the UK and consider your decision carefully.
Ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra claims the charges against him are unfounded and politically motivated by “enemies of democracy”.
In a landmark ruling on October 21, 2008, he was found to have violated conflicts of interest rules in helping his wife Khunying Pojamam Shinawatra buy land from a state agency at one-third the market price and sentenced to two years in jail. According to the Thai Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, Thaksin was found guilty of breaching Article 100 of the National Counter Corruption Act by aiding his wife in 2003 while he was still Prime Minister.
The court stated that as Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin had been entrusted to administer the state for the highest benefit of the state and the people, but instead chose to break the law. As the head of government, he should have set a good example, been honest, and behaved with good political ethics.
The Ratchapisek land ruling is the first in a series of cases against Thaksin Shinawatra. Other cases still pending in the Thai Supreme Court are abuse of power allegations linked to a two and three digit government lottery scheme, abuse of power related to irregularities in a 4 billion baht loan given by state controlled Export Import Bank of Thailand to the military government of Burma which alleged to have benefited his family business, and amending tax policies to enrich his business empire (Shin Corporation), as well as concealing assets.
In addition, on July 31, 2008 the Criminal Court sentenced Pojamarn Shinawatra to 3 years in prison for tax evasion over a 546 million baht transaction, and falsifying statements, and the same for her adopted brother, and her secretary with no probation.
In its reading, the court reprimanded her, saying that with her high economic, social, and political status – as wife of the prime minister – she should have acted as a role model for society.
Thaksin has claimed in his bid for asylum that he cannot receive a fair trial in Thailand, yet in June 2008, the Thai Supreme Court sentenced three lawyers working for him to a six-month jail term for trying to bribe a C-7 court official by presenting the official with a snack box containing two million baht. But at the same time, his lawyers are petitioning Thai Courts in several other cases while he claims the Thai Courts are unfair.
Thaksin claims the people fighting against him do not believe in democracy, yet in May 2007 his Thai Rak Thai party was dissolved due to violating electoral laws (vote buying). 111 of the party’s executives including Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra were barred from voting and holding public office for five years. Even after his party was dissolved, things are, however, much more complicated.
For instance, the People’s Power Party, which is Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party in a new guise, came close to controlling the majority in the House of Representatives and won the right to set up a new government, but not without controversy. People’s Power Party party executive and House Speaker Yongyuth Tiyapairat was found guilty of electoral fraud. Mr. Yongyuth was caught on video tape paying local village leaders 20,000 baht each to influence them in voting and canvassing for votes in their regions.
His brother-in-law is now the Prime Minister. His close allies occupy key government and bureaucratic positions and control key businesses. He is still one of Thailand’s richest and most powerful person. However, he still claims that the “priveliged elite” is set to destroy him. In reality, it is he who is a leading member of the “various groups of privilege elites” that quite literally control Thailand.
Thailand and Great Britain have long enjoyed close and longstanding relations at all levels and in all aspects. Our two countries should not allow an individual to test the strength of our partnership. More importantly, the British Government should not exchange its broader national interests and opportunities to expand its cooperation with Thailand for Thaksin.
Thaksin Shinawatra must thus be brought back to Thailand not simply to face the Supreme Court’s ruling but also, and more importantly, to help secure the future of justice in the country. A wrong decision on the part of the British government and judiciary system will help make the functioning of justice in Thailand difficult.
We, the People’s Alliance for Democracy, call for the extradition of Thaksin and Pojamarn Shinawatra from the United Kingdom in order to face the guilty verdict and serve time in prison and appear in court for the other charges against them.
Expel them from the UK and return these fugitives to Thailand.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy,
PAD protesters march to British embassy: BANGKOK, Oct 30 (TNA) – The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) marched to the British embassy in Bangkok, submitting a letter formally calling on the British government to extradite ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from the United Kingdom