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Former Thailand PM refuses return unless fair trial, democracy guaranteed

[JURIST] Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] told Japan's Kyodo News [media website] Thursday that he will not return to Thailand to face charges of corruption [JURIST report] unless he can be sure that his trial would be fair. Thai officials have ordered Thaksin and his wife to return to the country by July 23, and have said if they do not, Thailand will seek their extradition from the UK, where Thaksin currently lives in exile. Thaksin's lawyer told the official Thai News Agency it is doubtful that British authorities would extradite Thaksin [Xinhua report], and said Thaksin would not return until after a general election was held and democracy restored. Thaksin was overthrown in a bloodness military coup last September. Recently the current military-appointed Thai interim government proposed a bill seeking to maintain military political power [JURIST report], allowing the army chief the ability to detain people without charge, ban public demonstrations, and carry out warrantless searches even after the election of a civilian-run government. AFP has more.

Also Thursday, Thai officials announced additional asset seizures [AP report] from Thaksin in the amount of $84.5 million USD. Thaksin is estimated to be worth over $2 billion USD, however much of those funds are currently frozen [JURIST report]. Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 bloodless coup, and has been charged with numerous counts of corruption [JURIST report].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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