Anti-Thaksin Thais Protest Visa to Visit Japan

Posted August 18th, 2011 at 3:30 am (UTC-5)
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About 50 people protested outside the Japanese embassy in Bangkok Thursday against a planned visit to Japan by fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The group urged the Japanese public to pressure their government to revoke Mr. Thaksin's visa, which was issued in spite of rules that normally prohibit granting visas to fugitives.

The group's leader said he has also written a letter to the Japanese embassy.

Mr. Thaksin was convicted on corruption charges in 2008, two years after being overthrown in a military coup, and now lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai. However a new government headed by his younger sister took office this month and is more sympathetic to his claim that the charges were politically motivated.

Leaders of the opposition party, which was in office when Mr. Thaksin was convicted, are reportedly threatening legal action against the Thai foreign minister if he asked Japan to issue the visa.

They say the new government is legally obliged to continue to seek Mr. Thaksin's arrest and extradition.