The Nation


Germany lifts travel ban on fugitive Thaksin

Berlin - Germany has lifted the travel restriction banning former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from entering the country after the election victory of his proxy party this month.

Government sources said late Wednesday in Berlin that the ban, imposed in 2009, had been revoked. The decision came in the wake of the July 3 parliamentary elections in Thailand, which gave a majority to the Pheu Thai Party, in effect led by Thaksin remotely but whose leader in Thailand is his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The political novice is set to take office as prime minister in early August. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle lifted the ban on Thaksin's entry into Germany on July 15, the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup, fled the country and was convicted in 2008 of abuse of power in absentia and sentenced to two years in prison. He turned up in Germany in late 2008 and obtained a residency permit, but it was revoked, and he was ordered to leave the country in 2009 and not to return.The lifting of the ban has caused controversy in Germany with some parliamentarians questioning the possible involvement of their own security, intelligence and diplomatic services in Thaksin's 2008 visit.News reports have also speculated that Thaksin, who also holds a Montenegran passport and Nicaraguan diplomatic travel documents, was able to visit Germany while the ban was in place.

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