Former PM Thaksin returns to Thailand

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thaksin Shinawatra during his time in office.

Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister of Thailand, has returned to his country after being deposed 17 months ago in a military coup d'état. Within minutes of landing in Bangkok, he was arrested on corruption charges by immigration police, though Thaksin proclaims his innocence, stating that the charges against him are politically motivated. He has been granted bail for 8 million baht (£132,000/$261,000/€173,000) and was ordered not to leave the country.

Thousands of his supporters gathered at the airport to welcome him back to Thailand.

"When the game is over, we must come together and settle our differences, forgive everything and help each other push the country forward," the Guardian have reported him as saying. "I can prove my innocence. The allegations are empty."

In 2006 Thaksin was forcefully removed from office by the military who "cancelled the upcoming elections, suspended the Constitution, dissolved Parliament, banned protests and all political activities, suppressed and censored the media, declared martial law, and arrested Cabinet members," according to Wikipedia.

During the coup, Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party was outlawed and senior members were banned from politics for 5 years. However, his political opponents in Thailand fear that, now he has returned, he may influence politics from behind-the-scenes.


Wikipedia has more about this subject: