There is no need to use absolute powers under Article 44 of the Constitution to revoke the Thai passport of fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as the Foreign Ministry’s authority alone should be sufficient, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Sunday.
Wissanu was responding amid moves to revoke Yingluck’s passport following her flight from justice shortly before being convicted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by the Supreme Court for negligence in her government’s rice-pledging scheme.
The Thai passports of her brother, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, were revoked in 2015 after he gave a press interview in South Korea. The Foreign Ministry said then that the ex-PM’s remarks were a threat to national security.
Yingluck disappeared a day or two before the Supreme Court was due to the read the verdict in her case.
While she has the constitutional right to appeal, the recently enacted bill on political office holders’ in criminal cases would require her to personally file the appeal, Wissanu said.
Reacting to reports that Yingluck might seek political asylum in the UK, Wissanu said it was debatable whether she qualified for political asylum.
“If her argument was that she was overthrown [in a coup], she could have made a case if had she chosen to flee then,” he said. “But she fled recently. It is another case. I don’t know if she still can cite that reason”.