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Thaksin Shinawatra Deemed No Threat to Thailand

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Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul on Thursday explained his decision to repeal the passport ban for fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, saying he was justified to reissue the passport because Thaksin was not a security threat


Surapong was speaking in the question-and-answer session rebutting an opposition’s motion questioning his judgement on the Thaksin case.

He said his Democrat predecessor Kasit Piromya cited what he saw as Thaksin’s threatening activities as grounds for the passport ban.

After assuming office, he detected no threats posed by Thaksin, prompting the ban repeal, he said.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul

The Consular Department subsequently reissued the passport for Thaksin via the Thai Embassy in Abu Dhabi, he said.

He insisted he had acted within his mandate as foreign minister. He said the Democrat-led government made an unfair decision to deny Thaksin his travel document.

“If Thaksin was a threat, then several people should have been fallen under the same category but the previous government just discriminated against him alone,” he said.

He also said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not cancel the passport just because Thaksin had outstanding arrest warrants.

Under relevant laws, the passport could be recalled only under a combination of two factors – outstanding warrants and a formal ban on travelling abroad issued by law enforcement agencies such as the courts, the prosecutors and the police, he said.

In the Thaksin case, none of the agencies concerned had banned his travel despite the arrest warrants issued, he said.

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