Thailand to ’soon’ issue passport for fugitive former premier Thaksin

December 3rd, 2011 - 12:03 am ICT by BNO News  

BANGKOK (BNO NEWS) — Thailand will issue a passport for fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra “very soon”, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said on Friday.

Surapong said the passport will be issued as a New Year’s gift, the Bangkok Post reported. Thaksin’s Thai passport was earlier revoked after he fled the country to avoid jail following the military coup that ousted him in 2006.

“When Thaksin’s passport was cancelled, there was no order from the courts or the police to seize it,” Surapong said. “So I will use my authority to do whatever is not illegal under the regulations of the ministry to give the passport to ex-premier Thaksin.” 

Thaksin’s sister, current Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, said she had nothing to do with the move to reissue a Thai passport for her elder brother. “I have never interfered in this case, I’ve left it to the relevant officials,” she said, as quoted by the Bangkok Post. 

”It is a matter to be decided by the Foreign Ministry, but must be decided in line with the law, and the principles of justice and equality”.

Thaksin’s legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said the former premier had no knowledge about this plan and that he was still using the passport issued to him by Montenegro. Thaksin was stripped of his Thai passport by the previous government but received citizenship from Montenegro last year, allowing him to travel internationally.

Former foreign minister Kasit Piromya revoked Thaksin’s Thai passport to prevent him from traveling overseas, but this did not work as several countries issued him an entry visa nonetheless.

The return of Thaksin would likely anger his enemies, already irked by the opposition’s suggestion of an amnesty for political figures including the fugitive former leader. They argue that any person convicted of serious charges should not be given a passport.

Thaksin fled overseas before he was sentenced to two years in jail in 2008 for abusing his authority as prime minister by helping his then wife to buy prime state land at a discount. There are still other cases pending against him.

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