Thaksin breaks si­lence on Twit­ter

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

BANGKOK: Thailand’s for­mer pre­mier Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra yes­ter­day made his first pub­lic com­ment since his sis­ter fled the coun­try last week, break­ing a long si­lence with a Twit­ter post that ap­peared to de­nounce the Thai jus­tice sys­tem as tyran­ni­cal.

Thaksin’s sis­ter, Yingluck, 50, whose gov­ern­ment was ousted by a coup in 2014, dis­ap­peared from Thailand last week, shortly be­fore a Supreme Court ver­dict in a neg­li­gence case against her.

For­mer pre­mier Yingluck would have faced up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

In his com­ment on Twit­ter, Thaksin quoted the 18th cen­tury French philoso­pher Charles de Mon­tesquieu.

“Mon­tesquieu once said ‘There is no cru­eler tyranny than that which is per­pet­u­ated un­der the shield of law and in the name of jus­tice’,” Thaksin tweeted.

The post, which ap­peared in both English and Thai, was his first on that page since 2015.

The mes­sage was re-tweeted more than 1,000 times within 40 min­utes.

For­mer telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ty­coon Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and lives in self-ex­ile to avoid a 2008 graft con­vic­tion he says was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

Yingluck dis­ap­peared ahead of the court ver­dict last Fri­day in her trial for neg­li­gence over a costly rice sub­sidy scheme that helped to bring her to power in a 2011 gen­eral elec­tion.

She was forced to step down days be­fore a May 2014 coup against her gov­ern­ment, af­ter a court found her guilty of abuse of power in con­nec­tion with a civil ser­vice post­ing.

Sup­port­ers of Yingluck and Thaksin have ac­cused the courts of bias in fre­quent rul­ings against the Shi­nawa­tras and their al­lies.

Last week, junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said the gov­ern­ment had no in­flu­ence over the courts.

Thaksin re-shaped Thai pol­i­tics af­ter build­ing a busi­ness em­pire, win­ning staunch sup­port with pop­ulist poli­cies that raised living stan­dards, es­pe­cially for the ru­ral poor, and pro­pelled him or his loy­al­ists to vic­tory in ev­ery elec­tion since 2001.

But Thaksin also posed a chal­lenge to the roy­al­ist-mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ment, which de­nounced him as cor­rupt, set­ting up a strug­gle that has defined Thai pol­i­tics for most of the past 15 years.

His seem­ingly de­fi­ant tweet will be viewed with in­ter­est on both sides of the divide.

Winthai Su­va­ree, a spokesman for the junta, de­clined to com­ment on Thaksin’s post. – Reuters

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