Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thaksin To Return To Thailand Thursday

February 26, 2008 8:31 a.m. EST

Vittorio Hernandez - AHN News Writer

Bangkok, Thailand (AHN) - After 17 months of exile, deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is returning home Thursday to face corruption charges leveled against him. Like the return of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Thaksin's homecoming may result to political turmoil for Thailand.

But new Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej allayed fears of political unrest. "I want to urge the Thai people not to be concerned... I do not anticipate any unwanted incidents. There will be no chaos," Samak told media.

Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Patama, a friend of Thaksin and his former lawyer, broke the news about the former prime minister's return. The two met in China over the weekend.

Army commander Gen. Anupong Paochinda, one of those who led the coup against Thaksin, said the former prime minister will be provided police security.

Thaksin is scheduled to arrive 9 a.m. on Thursday. Upon his arrival, he will surrender to the police and try to post bail for the cases filed against him. Thaksin's wife Pojaman returned home ahead on January and posted bail for a corruption and conflict of interest charge filed against her arising from her purchase of a prime real estate in the country's capital city.

Aside from corruption charges, Thaksin also has a separate case for concealing assets. He is prohibited by law to hold a political office for the next five years.

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