While the high profile of extradition of alleged arms dealer Victor Bout came to a conclusion last month, Thailand and the U.S. may soon be involved with another extradition case. This one has a lot more significance here in Thailand.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is scheduled to speak in Washington DC at the U.S. government human rights panel. Mr. Thaksin is a convicted felon in Thailand, and Thailand and the U.S. have an extradition treaty. Thai officials have indicated that they are looking into having the U.S. attempt to extradite the former PM should he travel to the U.S.
Many people find it ironic that Thaksin would speak on human rights, as his critics have accused him of fault in the extra-judicial death of more than two thousand drug suspects. Regardless of his qualifications, it seems quite foolish for him to risk extradition. He has been pretty careful to stay out of the reach of Thai authorities.
Unless he has some type of assurances that he will not be detained, the risk is very real. The Thai government cooperated with the U.S. on the extradition of Bout. While politics may not influence a U.S. court to extradite Thaksin, it certainly could influence the U.S. government to detain him and attempt it.
Of course, Thaksin isn't the only one whose actions I question. Why is the Thai government announcing its intentions? Maybe it was inevitable, but if my intention is to actually get Thaksin, I would have been as coy and quiet about that as I could. Work behind the scenes to avoid scaring him off.
To rebut Thaksin's expected allegations that the treatment of the red shirts involved human rights abuse, Thailand is sending the foreign minister Kasit. Kasit was a yellow shirt supporter who I will not call a complete and utter moron only because of my mom's admonition against not saying anything if I don't have anything nice to say.