THAILAND’S Government is looking to extradite former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra who is believed to be seeking political asylum in the United Kingdom.
According to The Nation, the Thai Embassy in London issued a letter to the UK Foreign office to request her repatriation with the Supreme Court verdict convicting Yingluck of negligence relating to a rice subsidy scheme. The Embassy also gave the foreign office her arrest warrant.
Citing a 1911 extradition treaty with the UK, the embassy’s letter said Yingluck is wanted to serve a five-year sentence for corruption.
However, the treaty does not allow extradition for politically-related offences.
Despite this, the Thai Attorney-General’s International Affairs Department Director Amnart Chotchai said Yingluck’s extradition would be done according to protocol.
“We made it clear that this is a corruption case, not a political case, and hope the British authorities consider the request,” he was quoted as saying.
In the past, a similar request for extradition was also made for Yingluck’s brother, billionaire former prime minister Thaksin, but the UK government has not responded, Amnart said.
The Thai Embassy also told the UK Foreign Office that Yingluck’s case was not of a military or political nature.
“She has not been given a pardon or amnesty. And the arrest warrant for the defendant to serve her sentence is not affected by a statute of limitations,” the letter published by BBC Thai stated.
“Extradition may also be granted at the discretion of the State applied to in respect of any other crime for which, according to the law of both the Contracting Parties for the time being in force, the grant can be made,” the letter read.
The Shinawatra family remains influential in Thai politics, despite attempts by the military to stamp out their influence. Parties aligned with Thaksin have won every election since 2001 by appealing to poorer voters.
Yingluck fled the country last August, days before the Supreme Court issued the verdict on her case. Sources in her Puea Thai Party said she fled to London via Dubai, where Thaksin, has a home.
In May, a person from her party said she had obtained a 10-year visitor visa in the UK.