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  Thaksin Shinawatra - Legal News



A court in Thailand on Wednesday dismissed terrorism and other charges against 24 leaders of an extended street protest in 2010 that saw key areas of central Bangkok closed off and random violence that was ended by military force.

The Bangkok Criminal Court ruled that the two-month protest by the "Red Shirt" supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, during which 91 people were killed and thousands hurt, was "a political fight, not terrorism."

Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption and abuse of power. His allies won a 2007 election, but parliamentary maneuvering installed the rival Democrat Party in power in 2008, inspiring the 2010 protest that called for Democrat Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down.

Thaksin's ouster set off years of sometimes violent conflict between his supporters and opponents, both of which engaged in aggressive street protests against governments led by the other's faction. During three months of street protests in 2008, Thaksin's foes - known as the Yellow Shirts - occupied the prime minister's offices, as well as Bangkok's international airport for about a week.

The casualties in 2010 included soldiers as well as protesters. Unidentified armed men in black whose weapons included grenade launchers acted as a mysterious armed auxiliary to the protesters, but it appeared that most of the dead were unarmed civilians.

The case decided Wednesday was brought by state prosecutors and more than 40 business owners affected by the Red Shirts' seizure of Bangkok's central shopping and business district, and involved charges of terrorism, criminal association, using force to damage government property, inciting unrest, possession of arms, obstruction of officials through intimidation and gathering more than 10 people to cause chaos. The defendants were acquitted of all charges.


A Thai court said Thursday that it will decide whether to dissolve a political party that broke tradition by nominating a member of the royal family as its candidate for prime minister in next month's general election.

The Constitutional Court made the announcement a day after the Election Commission recommended that the Thai Raksa Chart Party be dissolved for its Feb. 8 nomination of Princess Ubolratana Mahidol.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn issued a royal order hours after his sister's nomination, stating that the nomination was inappropriate and unconstitutional because the monarchy was above politics. The party responded by professing its loyalty to the monarch and accepting his order.

Dissolving the party would likely increase already sharp political divisions and deepen concerns about the fairness of next month's poll.

The Constitutional Court said in a statement that the charges are being forwarded to the party, which will have seven days to respond. It scheduled the next hearing for Feb. 27.

The Election Commission said the party should be dissolved because its candidate was "in conflict with the system of rule of democracy with king as head of state."
Ubolratana's bid to become prime minister was particularly notable because she allied herself with Thai Raksa Chart, part of the political machine of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 military coup and is loathed by many royalists and others in the country's traditional establishment, who accuse him of corruption and disrespect for the monarchy.


Thailand's Supreme Court said it will issue an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after she failed to show Friday for a contentious trial verdict in which she could face a 10-year prison term for alleged negligence in overseeing a money-losing rice subsidy program.

A judge read out a statement saying that Yingluck's lawyers had informed the court she could not attend because of an earache. But the judge said the court did not believe the excuse because no official medical verification was provided, and the court would issue a warrant for her arrest as a result.

Yingluck's whereabouts were not immediately known, fueling speculation that she might have fled the country. There was no evidence, however, that she had left Thailand.

A verdict had been expected to be delivered within hours in the case, which the court postponed until Sept. 27. Yingluck has pleaded innocent, and decries the charges against her as politically motivated. If convicted, she has the right to appeal.

The trial is the latest chapter in a decade-long struggle by the nation's elite minority to crush the powerful political machine founded by Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled in a 2006 coup. Thaksin, who has lived in Dubai since fleeing a corruption conviction he says was politically motivated, has studiously avoided commenting on his sister's case, apparently to avoid imperiling it.

Thaksin is a highly polarizing figure here, and his overthrow triggered years of upheaval and division that has pitted a poor, rural majority in the north that supports the Shinawatras against royalists, the military and their urban backers.



A Thai court has sentenced 15 members of the "Red Shirt" political movement to four years in prison for inciting rioting that disrupted an important regional conference in 2009, a lawyer said.

The sentencing by a court in Pattaya on Thursday is the latest blow against supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption and disrespect for the king.

Those sentenced included two of the group's more senior leaders, Worachai Hema, a former pro-Thaksin lawmaker, and Arisman Pongruangrong, a popular former pop singer-turned-firebrand, their lawyer Karom Polpornklang said Friday. Two of the 15 were absent for the sentencing, and the others were held after an initial denial of bail.


A Dubai lawyer has appeared in court to deny charges that he stole tens of millions of dollars from former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The lawyer, Khaled al-Muhairy, 45, a partner at a Dubai firm, is charged with breach of trust, attempted fraud and forgery charges. He pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors told the court Thursday that al-Muhairy took money from an escrow account his firm had been hired to manage in 2009.

The attorney is accused of taking $129 million, $97 million of that from Thaksin's sale of the Manchester City football club. He also stole millions to buy a villa and tried to steal millions more for a plane.

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and has often used Dubai as a base while in exile.



A mob of anti-government protesters pushed their way into the compound housing the offices of Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday, one of a series of actions against state agencies in the capital.

The demonstrators, from the right-wing People's Alliance for Democracy, stopped once they entered the compound at Government House at about 2:30 p.m. and did not attempt to enter the official offices there, footage on Thai TV channel 9 showed.

Earlier, mobs of alliance protesters took over a state-controlled television station and besieged several ministries in a self-described "final showdown" to try to bring down the elected government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

It was the first time in recent years that a large crowd managed to get onto the Government House grounds. The crowd of several thousand appeared peaceful.

Samak was expected to speak about the situation late Tuesday afternoon.

The protests were the latest effort by the alliance to force Samak's government from office. The group contends Samak is a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and now has gone into self-imposed exile in England.



Deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his family have fled to the United Kingdom, the former leader said Monday after he and his wife skipped a hearing on corruption charges in a Thai court.

A handwritten statement from Thaksin issued Monday said he fled because he could not expect justice in Thai courts. It came amid newspaper reports that he would seek asylum in Britain.

"My wife and I have traveled to reside in England," Thaksin said in the statement. "If I still have luck, I would come back and die on Thai soil like every other Thai person.

Thaksin's statement, which did not mention asking for asylum, was read Monday afternoon on state-run television.

"What happened to my family and me is like fruit from a poisonous tree — the fruit will also be poisoned," the statement said. "There is a continuation of dictatorship in managing Thai politics ... which is followed by interference in the justice system."

Thaksin and his wife Pojaman failed to appear Monday morning before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in a case involving an allegedly unlawful purchase of real estate.

The couple left Thailand last week after the court gave them permission to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing but ordered them to report Monday. News reports in Bangkok said Thaksin and Pojaman flew from China to England, where the former leader owns several properties and the Manchester City football club.

Thaksin lived in exile in Britain after he was ousted in a 2006 military coup. He returned to Thailand earlier this year to face corruption charges against him after his political allies won new elections and formed a coalition government.


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