Ousted PM criticises junta crackdown 'unfair'
Deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra said Thursday the junta's crackdown on his activities was unfair after the military revoked his diplomatic passport and banned television coverage of him.
The announcements late Wednesday came amid a flurry of orders by the junta that ousted Thaksin in September, including tough new measures to fight a separatist insurgency by Muslims in southern Thailand.
The orders were part of a security clampdown in Bangkok following deadly bombings in the Thai capital on New Year's Eve.
Thaksin's lawyer Noppadon Patama told AFP the former premier was currently in Hong Kong, and that he had spoken with him early Thursday about the new restrictions.
"Former prime minister Thaksin felt it was unfair to revoke his diplomatic passport, as well as his wife's, since he was not using that passport to travel to mount political activities," Noppadon said.
"The reason cited for canceling his passport was groundless," he said.
The foreign ministry said Thaksin's passport had been revoked "because of the changing security situation".
Army-installed Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has accused factions linked to Thaksin of staging the Bangkok bombings, but he has denied any involvement.
An aide to Surayud, Surapong Jayanama, said Thaksin could still apply for a normal passport, but that the decision to revoke his diplomatic one was aimed at restricting his political activities amid the security concerns.
"Under international practice, the host country must make sure that Thaksin does not make political movements, and they must be aware that Thaksin was toppled from office," he said.
The military also threatened to shut down Thai television and radio stations that cover briefings by Noppadon, who periodically delivers statements from Thaksin.
"As the junta warned media not to cover my briefings, things will not be the same. I will have to be more careful," Noppadon said.
"Even though my messages have been about national reconciliation, I have still received death threats," he said.
Thaksin was in New York when the military toppled his government, and he has remained in exile since then, hopping the globe with stays in London, Beijing, Hong Kong and Bali.
Agence France Presse