Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Time for Thaksin to join his wife


Time for Thaksin to join his wife

Matichon editorial _ In a surprise move, Khunying Potjaman Shinawatra returned to Thailand last Tuesday to start her defence against corruption charges levelled against her and her husband, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The couple face a court trial over alleged abuse of power related to Khunying Potjaman's purchase of land in Bangkok's Ratchadapisek area in 2003, when Mr Thaksin was still prime minister.

Immediately after she landed at Suvarnabhumi airport on a flight from Hong Kong, Khunying Potjaman was taken to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, where she was granted bail. She later went to the Department of Special Investigation, where she was also granted bail in another case involving alleged share concealment.

Arrest warrants were issued against the former prime minister and his wife last August, after they failed to show up to answer the charges.

The two cases raised a lot of controversy because they were brought against Mr Thaksin and Khunying Potjaman after a group of military officers removed him from power in a coup on Sept 19, 2006. Mr Thaksin has since lived in exile.

Khunying Potjaman's arrival has revived the judicial process which was suspended when she left the country, with the Supreme Court setting the first hearing on the Ratchadapisek land case for Jan 23.

The Supreme Court is an independent body. Its legitimacy rests on the trust and confidence of the public. However, any ruling of its Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions is final. Defendants cannot appeal.

We hope Mr Thaksin will soon return to prove his innocence through the judicial process. He can counter all the charges in court. Any ruling will be based on the evidence presented by the prosecutor and the defendant.

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