The Cabinet Secretariat can recall ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s royal decoration following advises from the Council of State, said Surachai Puprasert, secretariat’s secretary general said Wednesday.
The secretariat will also ask police department to proceed the strip of Thaksin’s police rank, Surachai told Matichon online.
Earlier the Council of State has advised the Cabinet to strip Thaksin’s police rank of lieutenant colonel and to recall his royal decorations, following his conviction and jail sentence last year.
The council, which is the government’s legal advisory agency, sent its recommendation to the Cabinet Secretariat on Monday.
It said the fact that Thaksin, who carries the rank of police lieutenant colonel, was sentenced to imprisonment and that disqualified him from holding a rank under the Royal Thai Police regulations.
He was also obliged to return his royal decorations under the Prime Minister’s Office regulations.
Thaksin was sentenced in absentia by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders in October last year to two years in jail for conflict of interest. He did not appeal the ruling but instead argued that it was politically motivated.
Stripping Thaksin of police rank ‘lawful’
The revocation of convicted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s police rank of lieutenant-colonel is in line with the law, House Speaker Chai Chidchob said on Wednesday.
The Council of State issued an opinion on Tuesday that the prison sentence given to Thaksin by the Supreme Court met all the conditions required to strip him of his police rank and his royal decorations.
Whether the revocation of his rank would lead to violent protest by his supporters, Mr Chai said the red-shirts have done that all along.
He then suggested the government not to counter Thaksin’s moves, but just let things go according to legal procedures.
Government acting spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn said the revocation of Thaksin’s police lieutenant-colonel rank must be carried out by the Royal Thai Police and under police regulations.
He did not believe this would inflame the red-shirt movement into further prolonging their anti-government protests.
On the contrary, Mr Panithan expected the protests to gradually diminish because people were getting very bored with them.
The Council of State’s opinion has been sent to the Cabinet Secretariat along with guidelines for the process.
The Royal Thai Police had queried whether Thaksin’s conviction was sufficient to strip him of his rank, arguing that he was sentenced to prison for violating the rule on conflict of interest under the anti-corruption law. He was cleared of malfeasance charges under articles 152 and 157 of the Criminal Code.
Thaksin’s offence was political and so might not be enough to warrant revoking his rank under police regulations.
The Council of State, the government’s legal adviser, said the prison sentence handed down by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions met all the conditions required to revoke Thaksin’s rank and royal decorations.
As long as the jail sentence imposed on Thaksin was considered final, he should lose his rank regardless of the court in which he was tried.
The council also cited PM’s Office regulations on royal decorations which stipulate that a person can lose them if a jail sentence is considered final.
Council of State Rules on Removal of Thaksin’s Police Rank and Royal Decorations
The Council of State ruled that the two-year jail sentence of ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is sufficient justification to strip him of his police rank and the royal decorations On Monday, the Council of State’s ruling was sent to the Cabinet Secretariat along with guidelines to ask for a permission from His Majesty the King to strip Thaksin of his rank of police lieutenant colonel and the royal decorations bestowed upon him.
Thaksin’s sentence was handed down by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Office on October 21, 2008, and is grounds for justification to remove Thaksin’s police rank and decorations.
The Supreme Court found him guilty of conflict of interest under corruption law.
This caused the police to seek a possibility of revoking his police rank under regulations issued in 2003.
According to the letter from the State’s Council, so long as the sentence imposed on Thaksin was considered final, he should lose his rank regardless of the court in which he was tried.
The sentence handed downed by the Supreme Court met all the requirements to revoke Thaksin’s rank and royal decorations.
A source within the Royal Thai Police revealed that the former National Police Chief, Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan has previously been asked to look into revoking of Thaksin’s rank.
The source said Police General Patcharawat then tasked Police Lieutenant General Arjin Chotwong with looking into the legality of this matter.
And Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban was informed of this matter before it was forwarded to the Council of State.
The source added that the process to revoke royal decorations bestowed on him while he was active in police force has already been made by the Royal Thai Police, while revoking of royal decorations that were bestowed on him during his political career falls under the responsibility of the PM’s Office.
In response to this development, Prakiat Nasimma, the Pheu Thai MP and former legal advisor to Thaksin, said the Democrat Party is good at discrediting people, citing the fall of the Thai Rak Thai and People Power Parties as examples.
Prakiat said the two parties were accused of being disloyal to the monarchy.
He said the effort to revoke Thaksin’s rank and royal decorations can be viewed as a plan to discredit Thaksin.
Meanwhile, Noppadol Pattama, legal advisor to Thaksin Shinawatra, said he isn’t aware of this new development and will look into the legality of this revocation effort in order to determine if it is a just action.
Recall of Thaksin’s royal decorations routine: Abhisit
The current government leadership had no involvement in the pending recall of police rank and royal decorations granted to fugitive expremier Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Wednesday.
“The process to strip Thaksin of his official honour is a routine treatment for a convict and not a policy decision to fault him,”Abhisit Vejjajiva said.
Abhisit said the revocation of social honour was being done in accordance with the police regulations and relevant provisions for granting and recalling royal decorations.
EX-PM’S POLICE RANK AND ROYAL DECORATIONS
It’s normal practise : Deuty PM
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuagsuban said Wednesday that stripping the police rank of those convicted of a crime, such as ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, is a normal practice.
The Office of the Council of State Tuesday advised the Cabinet’s Secretariat to remove Thaksin’s rank of police lieutenant colonel and recall his decorations as he was convicted two-year-jail term for abuse of power and corruption concerning Ratchadapisek land purchase deal last year. Ousted by bloodless coup in 2006, Thaksin jumped bail last year and fled Thailand before the court read its verdict. He now lives in exile, mainly in the United Arab Emirates. Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs revoked his Thai passport, but he has travelled to some countries with foreign passports. The deputy premier said that stripping the rank of Thaksin followed normal procedures for any police or soldier who commits malfeasance. Suthep said, “Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has nothing to do with removing Thaksin’s rank.”