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Supreme Court issues warrant for Thaksin

Article published on the 2008-08-11 Latest update 2008-08-11 10:12 TU

 Thaksin (L) and Potjaman at the criminal court in Bangkok last month (Photo: Reuters)

Thaksin (L) and Potjaman at the criminal court in Bangkok last month
(Photo: Reuters)

Thailand's Supreme Court has issued arrrest warrants for former Prime Minister and billionaire businessman Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife for corruption after the couple announced that they have gone to Britain and will stay there in defiance of a summons to appear in court.

Thaksin and his wife Pojaman were in China over the weekend to attend the Olympic Games’ opening ceremonies, and were due in court in Thailand Monday. But they chose instead to return to Britain, where they took refuge after Thaksin was ousted by a coup in 2006.

The couple were in Thailand as recently as 31 July when Pojaman was convicted of tax evasion and released on bail. The two then received special permission to travel abroad, and said Monday that they don’t plan on returning to face the charges.

“My wife and I will stay in England where democracy is more important,” Thaksin wrote in a hand-written note released to the media.

They accused the judges of "double standards" and claimed that the legal cases aimed to "get rid of me from politics".

Elections held last December brought Thaksin’s allies in the People Power Party (PPP) back to power, striking a blow against the military junta that deposed them.

However, the PPP’s political agenda has been stalled by the courts, and plans to change the military-drafted constitution have been disrupted by street protests.