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Prominent Thaksin backers told not to attend his party

Publication Date : 21-07-2014

 

Fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra advised red shirt leaders and former Pheu Thai Party MPs not to attend his 65th birthday celebration in Paris on Saturday, saying he did not want them to be subjected to junta scrutiny. A party source said Thaksin said he wanted to mark the occasion with close family members only.

Thaksin's younger sisters Yaowapa Wongsawat, and Yingluck are expected to attend the party, along with Khunying Potjaman Na Pombejra, his ex-wife. Yingluck's chance of attending the event got a boost when she got a green light from the junta to leave the country.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has requested that the Office of the Attorney-General indict her for dereliction of duty after it ruled that she had failed to stop huge losses in the rice-pledging scheme.

Anti-corruption networks have thrown their weight behind a |proposal to issue a law that would prevent people being investigated for corruption from escaping prosecution by leaving the country, but others fear it may violate international human rights laws.

National Anti-Corruption Commissioner Vicha Mahakun proposed the idea at a reform panel at Thammasat University.

Mana Nimimongkol, director of the Anti Corruption Network, sat on the reform panel and expressed confidence the law would help prevent corrupt officials from escaping justice.

The proposal follows Yingluck's request to the National Council for Peace and Order that she be allowed to take her son on a European trip from yesterday until August 10.

Yingluck's request sparked hot debate when the NACC subsequently requested that the Office of the Attorney-General indict her.

The NCPO initially said she could leave the country because she had co-operated with it by refraining from activities she was barred from doing.

However, after the NACC ruled that she must be indicted for her role in the rice-pledging scheme, the NCPO said the decision on whether she could leave the country would rest with the Attorney General and the courts.

There are concerns Yingluck would follow in the footsteps of Thaksin, who fled the country to avoid a two-year jail term for abuse of power relating to an illegal land purchase.

National Human Rights Commission member Dr Nirand Pitakwatchara said several politicians had escaped prosecution by fleeing the country.

Human rights activist Somchai Homlaor believed the proposed ban would create more adverse impacts than advantages because in 1997 the country signed International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights agreements in which it gave an undertaking that citizens had the right to relocate and leave the country.

"Even though the 2007 Constitution has been cancelled, the country is bound to comply with the ICCPR regulations," he said.

He said the decision on who could leave the country should rest with the courts and not the NACC.

 

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