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Cambodia rejects demands to extradite Thaksin

Move to further deepen diplomatic rift with Thailand

CAMBODIA rejected a formal request Wednesday by the Thai government for the extradition of visiting former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who faces a two-year prison term in Thailand after his conviction in absentia on corruption charges in 2008.

In a statement that followed through on a verbal promise the government has made repeatedly over the last few weeks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would not extradite Thaksin because the legal charges he faces in Thailand are “politically motivated”.

“The condemnation of HE Thaksin Shinawatra is logically the consequence of the military coup d’etat in September 2006, which resulted in his removal from the post of prime minister, while he was overwhelmingly and democratically elected by the Thai people,” the statement read.

Thai Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said Thailand was mulling its options in the wake of the rejection.

“We have received a copy of the diplomatic note that the Cambodian side has sent to us and at the moment, our legal people are examining the details and the contents of the letter,” Thani said, adding that this legal team would then make a policy recommendation for the government to consider.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has threatened to terminate the extradition agreement between Thailand and Cambodia in the event that a request for Thaksin is denied, though Thani said his government has not yet settled on a response.

“I think a review of all the agreements that we have is being examined. I don’t want to prejudge what the outcome of that review will be,” he said.

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