Interpol says no call received to arrest Thaksin

28th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Cross-border police agency Interpol said Friday it had received no request to track fugitive Thai ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra and that it would not arrest him on purely "political" grounds.

Thailand said Thursday it would request Interpol's co-operation after it issued an arrest warrant on terrorism charges for Thaksin, whom it accuses of funding protests that led to deadly clashes in Bangkok in recent months.

Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, France, quoted its Secretary General Ronald Noble as saying he had "no knowledge" yet of an official demand from Bangkok for help in the case.

If such a demand were made it would be subject to Interpol's "normal procedure" and referred to the agency's judicial advisers.

A spokesman for Interpol, which helps coordinate investigations between its 188 member countries, told AFP that its statutes forbid it to ask its member states to carry out arrests of a "political nature".

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and later went into exile to avoid a jail term for corruption. He has been living mainly in Dubai, with visits to other countries including Montenegro, France and Britain.

The Thai government accuses him of inciting unrest and bankrolling rallies by "Red Shirt" opposition protesters which have sparked deadly outbreaks of violence.

Thai deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Thursday that a request for Interpol's help would be sent "so any country that knows of his whereabouts can notify Thailand, so Thailand can begin the extradition procedure".

Thaksin said in a radio interview Wednesday that Interpol would recognise the accusations were "politically motivated".

© 2010 AFP

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