|By||Veronica Pedrosa, in London|
Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s former prime minister, says he will not get a fair hearing if he returns to face corruption charges, saying there was no longer any rule of law in the country.
A court in Bangkok on Tuesday ordered him to appear in court on corruption charges, but he
appeared unwilling to leave his self-imposed exile in London.
In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera correspondent Veronica Pedrosa, Thaksin said he does not think he will get a fair trial as there was” no justice for me” in Thailand.
He said there was interference in the justice system from people who did not “care about any rule of law”.
“Under the military junta you cannot get any justice … any fair trial will not happen
because they intervene in every step,” said Thaksin.
“Even the investigation team is appointed by the junta and my political opponents are the investigators.”
Thai investigators ordered Thaksin and his wife Pojaman to return home and appear before police by July 27 to face separate charges of making fraudulent filings to stock exchange regulators.
On the possibility of an arrest warrant being issued by the Thai government to extradite him, Thaksin said the British government would
“The allegation is really politically motivated, so the British authorities do not have to co-operate,” he said. “They are a very mature democracy.”
Added Thaksin, “I’m quite confident that if I get a fair trial, if I get justice with no military intervention with guns and tanks, then I’m quite sure I can prove my innocence quite easily.”
Thaksin, who was removed as prime minister in a bloodless military coup in September last year, is not expected to attend the August 14 open hearing of the corruption case involving a land purchase.
The case against him and Pojaman in the Supreme Court is the first ever criminal charges filed against a former prime minister in the kingdom.
If convicted, both could be jailed for up to 13 years and face a fine of up to 200,000 baht ($6,250) each.
The military-backed government has promised to hold general elections later this year.
Investigators from Thailand’s Assets Examination Committee have already frozen at least $1.52bn worth of assets belonging to Thaksin and his family.
He said his family will sue the anti-graft committee for return of seized funds, insisting that his family legitimately owned the funds which were accumulated “long before we entered politics”.
“I will be patient until democracy returns to Thailand. Then, I can face all kinds of trial because I believe in my innocence,” said Thaksin.
“The money I earned I worked hard for, for 20 years, and we’ve gone through many hardships, and now they say my money is from corruption.”
Thaksin also said the charges against his wife and family were politically motivated.
“This is politically motivated. They are just trying to get me. They want me out of politics,” he said.
“They don’t want me to go back because if I do, they’re afraid they’ll be in trouble later on.”
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