Thaksin: Thailand Must Observe Rights of Arrested Protest Leaders

The following is the most recent official statement issued by Thaksin.

Statement by Former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra

Today the Kingdom of Thailand is in mourning. I join all Thai patriots in their immediate call for calm, order, and non-violence, and fully condemn the actions of those who acted with opportunism and impunity to cause reckless damage in Bangkok, which is completely alien to the cause of the protest movement.

It is a dark day for Thailand’s battered democracy. More than 67Thai citizens, including some soldiers and foreign journalists, havelost their lives since April 10 as a result of state violence and humanrights abuses, and this is an appalling and unacceptable reality for thegovernment to face before international law.

There are immediateconcerns for our communities to address following the May 19, 2010violence in Bangkok. We must get past the anger and outrage to begin anew political dialogue that is fair and equal before the law for allThai citizens.

There are questions about my relationship with theRed Shirt movement, and many untrue accusations. I will continue tomorally support the heroic effort of the UDD and their leaders to seekdemocracy and justice for Thailand.

Thai citizens must defendthe independence of our judiciary, and ensure that due process and ruleof law are strictly observed in the government’s treatment of arrestedUDD leaders. There should be no more show trials, and no more politicalprisoners. The fact that the government has attempted to use the term”terrorism” against those who disagree with its policies raisessignificant concerns of political persecution.

I resolutely rejectall allegations with regard to any illegal or violent activities in theKingdom of Thailand, and underscore the fact that this heroic andinspiring grassroots movement is completely autonomous and independentfrom myself. Let me state this clearly: the struggle of the red shirtsis a struggle for the democratic rights of the citizens.

I amfully responsible for only one aspect of the crisis: years ago I ledthese excluded people to believe that they could exercise theirconstitutional rights of citizens, that their votes mattered, and thatthey were equal to Bangkok elites to participate in our blesseddemocracy. Right now this assumption that all Thais can vote and thatall Thais can be represented is under assault, and I must sincerelyapologize to everyone who made this leap of faith.

I ask allthose participating on all sides to take a step back, consider thepossibility of political solutions, and not to fall victim to theprovocations from those who benefit from Thailand falling intolawlessness.

I am optimistic for the future of Thailand. Weare a good people, proud, successful, tolerant, and deserving of arespected status in the region. But the damage caused to our reputationby our current leadership will take some time to repair.