Thailand court acquits ex-wife of ex-PM Thaksin

[JURIST] A Thai court on Wednesday acquitted Pojamarn Shinawatra [JURIST news archive], the ex-wife of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], overturning a tax evasion conviction. Shinawatra was convicted of tax evasion [JURIST report] in July 2008 for transferring $16.3 million worth of stock to her step-brother and secretary, who were also convicted. Pojamarn and step-brother Bannapot Damapong were each sentenced to three years, and her secretary was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the crime. The three appealed, and all three convictions were overturned [AFP report]. The Bangkok criminal court, however, upheld a tax evasion conviction and two-year sentence for Damapong and imposed a USD $3,300 fine.

Thailand's political system has remained unstable following the coup that ousted Thaksin in 2006. In February, seven leaders of Thailand's "red-shirt" [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] pro-democracy movement, another group that opposes the country's current leadership, were released on bail [JURIST report]. They were arrested on terrorism charges stemming from their involvement in the anti-government protests [JURIST news archive] in Bangkok. In January, members of the movement also petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to launch a preliminary investigation [JURIST report] into whether the government committed crimes against humanity during those protests. The Constitutional Court of Thailand ordered that 46.4 billion baht (USD $1.4 billion) of Thaksin's fortune be seized [JURIST report] in Februrary 2010, a ruling that led to violent protests that took place in Bangkok last spring.

 

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