Thailand slams Russia, Germany for giving visa to ex-PM Thaksin

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Bangkok : The Thai foreign minister has criticised the Russian and German governments for granting visas to the country’s fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Bangkok Post reported Tuesday.

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“Everyone is washing their hands but he is a bloody terrorist,” Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said in Washington, where he will attend the Nuclear Security Summit.

“He is a convicted criminal and should be punished. This is an act of interference by third countries. How can Russia allow him there for two days, or the Germans before that?” the Bangkok Post quoted Kasit as saying.

A Thai court found Thaksin guilty of tax evasion and corruption in October 2008 and sentenced him in absentia to two years in jail. Thaksin said the case was politically motivated and fled to Britain with his wife two months before the verdict.

“Everyone is playing naive, closing their eyes and so on, simply because he was once an elected leader,” the paper quoted Kasit as saying. “Mussolini was elected, Hitler was elected, even Stalin could say that he was elected, but what did they do to their societies?”

The exiled prime minister still has strong support in Thailand. The government accused Thaksin of being behind the so-called “red shirts”, who started a series of protests in March 2009 after the government offered nine million low-paid Thai workers payments of $55 per head to stimulate the economy.

The protesters called the aid “bribery”, accused the government of coming to power illegally. They demanded that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve parliament within 15 days and call new elections.