THE OFFICE of the Attorney-General’s international affairs department is preparing to set up a working group to handle an extradition request for fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Department director-general Amnat Chotchai said yesterday he would head the group and was seeking to recruit experts to join it.
The group will be formed even though the Attorney-General has not yet received an official police request to pursue Yingluck, who is reportedly in London and has sought political asylum in the UK.
But the Attorney-General could justify its move to seek extradition because Yingluck’s case was related to graft, not politics, Amnat said, arguing that the former premier had attended all the court hearings until August 25 when the Supreme Court was scheduled to deliver its verdict.
A century-old extradition treaty between Thailand and the UK is still in force and British laws also cover graft and negligence-related cases, Amnat added.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry is considering revoking Yingluck’s passports but has not commented on her reported plan to live in exile overseas.
The ministry has received a request from police to cancel her travel documents and is considering it in line with the ministry’s 2005 regulation on passports, spokesperson Busadee Santipitaks said yesterday.
The ministry did not have any information about her reported plan to seek asylum in the United Kingdom, Busadee added.
Rumours were widespread yesterday that Yingluck had received political asylum in Britain and was attempting to set up a government-in-exile.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan said he did not know anything about the reports.
Prawit denied that he had met Yingluck in London last month.
Prawit had travelled to London to attend the Defence and Security Equipment International arms exhibition from September 12 to 15.
Yingluck last week was sentenced to five years in prison for her negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her government’s rice-pledging scheme. However, หhe fled Thailand in late August ahead of the reading of the verdict and flew to Dubai.
Foreign media reported that she had left Dubai for London on September 11. Thaksin and his two daughters had been in London from September 15 onwards, but now Thaksin is back in Dubai, according to their posts on social media.
“How could I meet her and no one saw it? I don’t know when she came to London. I was there for two days and met two UK ministers. That’s it,” Prawit said.
The caretaker secretary-general of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, Phumtham Wechayachai, dismissed the reports. “The reports are groundless and not true. It is speculation,” said Phumtham. “We have not received news from the ex-premier.
“Photos of her circulated on social media are old and doctored. It has caused a lot of misunderstanding,” he added.
Phumtham said he believed that Yingluck would eventually speak for herself when the time was right.