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It's time for Thaksin to respect the rule of law: senior Democrats

Senior Democrat Party figures called on former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday to admit to his alleged wrongdoings and respect the courts - to uphold the rule of law in Thailand.

They said Thaksin had been a major source of political conflict in recent years.

The remarks came in response to the fugitive ex-leader's claims that accusations made during the post-coup Assets Examination Committee (AEC)'s investigation against him were unfair.

The investigation led to a court verdict against him in October 2008.

Thaksin, who fled the country and has lived in self-exile overseas ever since, was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail for abuse of power.

On Sunday night, Thaksin addressed a gathering of red-shirt supporters at the Ratchaprasong intersection through a Skype call from overseas.

The gathering was held to mark the third anniversary of the dispersal of the red shirts' anti-government rally in 2010.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday he was saddened by the fact Thaksin could not admit his wrongdoings.

"He should allow the justice process to take its course. There have been attempts to lie and fabricate facts.

"The goal is to discredit the courts and independent organisations," Abhisit said.

The opposition leader said if Thaksin genuinely had no vested interests as he claimed, he should declare that he does not support a draft amnesty law proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung.

The draft would grant general amnesty to all people involved in the recent political conflicts, including politicians accused of corruption.

Abhisit said the law's intention was to help corrupt politicians and those responsible for killings and arson attacks during the 2010 unrest.

Deputy Democrat leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot said in Twitter messages that Thaksin should respect the justice system and not try to stay above the law.

'Root of the problem'

He said Thaksin was responsible for problems with the country's democracy.

"If he had run the country honestly and fairly, respected the Constitution and not interfered with independent organisations, there wouldn't have been a coup," Alongkorn said.

Kaewsun Atibodhi, a former member of the AEC, said a truly democratic government would respect the law and accept scrutiny.

"It should not oppose scrutiny or violate the law," he said.

Meanwhile, in his speech to the red shirts, Thaksin claimed that a member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission had sought bribes from him in 1999 in relation to the share-concealment case, but he refused to pay.

No NACC member was available for comment on the issue yesterday.


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