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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

They were on track to kill him: Reds

By Naya Jaikawang,
Hassaya Chartmontree
The Nation


Pheu Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan yesterday alleged the government was hatching a secret plan to "get rid of" fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra - backing up his allegation for a second time by disclosing a classified memorandum prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Repeating his claim of last week, Jatuporn said a memorandum on Thai-Cambodian ties, classified as secret and sent from Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, was purportedly a plot to assassinate Thaksin.

"The term "get rid of" is a codeword for killing," he said, claiming such a codeword is commonly understood by MFA officials.

At yesterday's press conference, Jatuporn focused on the five-page annex to the main document which he touched on last week.

The annex outlined responses of varying intensity to the prime minister of Cambodia, he said. The 18 measures included a ban on Thai citizens visiting Cambodian casinos, cancellation of the extradition treaty, reinforcement of troops along the borders, and cancellation of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on maritime boundaries.

He said the MFA analysis shed light on the dilemma of memorandums of understanding previously signed with Cambodia.

In one case, the MFA urged cancellation of the 2001 MOU on maritime boundaries in order to smear Thaksin for conflict of interest, he said. But an anticipated adverse impact might have led to the questioning of the MOU on land borders, signed in 2000 by Democrat MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, he added.

He claimed the debate about the MOUs raised two interesting facts - first, Thaksin had no conflict of interest but the government wanted to smear him; and second, the 2000 MOU highlighted the loss of sovereignty around Preah Vihear Temple, but the Democrats did not want to concede their mistake.

The two MOUs have remained in effect and Thailand will not be better off by meddling with them, he said.

The entire memorandum was 12-pages long and should be made public in order to stop the alleged plot to kill Thaksin, he said.

He insisted disclosure of the classified memorandum would neither be harmful to Thai interests nor beneficial to Cambodia.

"The memorandum is illegal with the aim to take Thaksin's life," he said, shrugging off the threat of litigation on unauthorised disclosure of classified information.

He said he might file a counter lawsuit charging the MFA with abuse of power for undertaking illegal actions.

He vowed to use the classified memorandum as a major rallying point for the red shirts to resume street protests next month designed to oust the government.

He also said he planned to censure Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu for intimidating the judiciary to relocate the construction site for a court in Pai, Mae Hong Son.

Reacting to Jatuporn's claims, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he would allow legal experts to determine appropriate counter-measures.

Suthep said the government had not planned on taking out a contract on Thaksin's life as alleged. Even though he had no access to the memorandum in question, he assumed it was just an outline of a general plan for responses to anticipated measures from Cambodia, he said.

Because of the leak, the MFA might have to rethink and redraw the plan, he added.

He said there was virtually nothing he nor the government could do to improve the bilateral ties with Cambodia since its prime minister was fully committed to supporting Thaksin in his attempts to undermine the Thai government.

The House committee on foreign relations plans to launch a hearing and will call on Kasit to testify on the classified memorandum, committee chairman Tophong Chaiyasarn said.

Meanwhile, Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to the foreign minister, said yesterday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was preparing to take legal action against Jatuporn for making public the classified documents.

A fact-finding committee has been set up to investigate the leak of the documents, according to a ministry source.

The panel, headed by deputy permanent secretary for foreign affairs Piyawat Niyomroek, has questioned almost 20 people but still has not yet completed its work, the source said.
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Deported Uyghur Had Cambodian Visa

A legal visitor in Cambodia was apparently swept up in a mass deportation to China.

WASHINGTON—One of 20 ethnic Uyghur asylum-seekers deported from Cambodia to China as illegal migrants entered the country legally and on the advice of U.N. refugee officials, Radio Free Asia (RFA) has learned.

Aikebaerjiang Tuniyaz, 27, left China in March 2009 after serving a one-year jail term in Liudawan prison in Urumqi for allegedly “leaking secret information abroad.”

Tuniyaz, born in Aksu and a graduate of Shanghai Jiaotong University, spoke in 2007 with RFA’s Uyghur service about the shooting of a Uyghur man by Chinese security forces in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Tuniyaz entered Thailand in early 2009 and sought asylum through the Bangkok office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where a staff member suggested he might expedite the process by approaching the UNHCR office in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, instead, he said in an earlier interview.

He obtained a visa through the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok and entered Cambodia legally, he said. Tuniyaz was in Cambodia legally when deadly ethnic rioting erupted in Urumqi on July 5 this year.

The 20 Uyghur Muslims deported Saturday under intense Chinese pressure had fled to Cambodia in search of asylum after witnessing and documenting violent ethnic riots in the restive western Chinese region of Xinjiang this summer that left nearly 200 dead.

They had warned the UNHCR that they feared long jail terms or even the death penalty if they were sent back to China, according to statements obtained by The Associated Press.

Tuniyaz had been translating for and staying with the group of 21 Uyghurs in Phnom Penh—two are said to have fled—when the group was detained.

Cambodia said it expelled the Uyghurs because they had illegally entered the country. It has since been sharply criticized by Washington, which said the deportations would harm bilateral ties with the United States, though they may have strengthened relations with Beijing.

On Monday, China signed off on more than U.S. $1.2 billion in aid to Cambodia during a visit there by Vice President Xi Jinping. The assistance, including 14 agreements for grants and loans, ranges from help in building roads to repairing Buddhist temples.

More protests

The European Union said Monday it was "deeply concerned" about Cambodia's decision to return the group of Uyghurs to China and urged Beijing to respect the rights of the returnees.

On Tuesday, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak slammed the deportations.

“This is a blatant violation of Cambodia’s obligations under the principle of non-refoulement as stipulated in Article 3 of the U.N. Convention Against Torture,” Nowak said in a statement.

Nowak said that he had reports of “severe torture” in Xinjiang following the unrest and that recent executions there violated “the most basic fair trial guarantees.”

“I am calling on the Chinese authorities to treat the 20 persons humanely upon return in accordance with international standards, to grant access to them in case they are detained and to afford them due process guarantees, if charged with criminal offenses”, he added.

U.N. Independent Expert on Minority Issues Gay McDougall called on Beijing to allow U.N. rights envoys to examine ethnic tensions in Xinjiang after the deadly violence there.

Original reporting by Shohret Hoshur for RFA’s Uyghur service. Uyghur service director: Dolkun Kamberi. Written in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.
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China denies linking Cambodia aid with deportation of Uighurs

China denied on Tuesday it had linked aid to Cambodia with the Southeast Asian nation’s decision to deport a group of Uighurs back to China despite protests from the United Nations and the United States.

Cambodia signed 14 deals worth an estimated $850 million with China on Monday, two days after defying international pressure by expelling 20 Uighur asylum-seekers, underlining growing trade and diplomatic links.

Uighurs are a Turkic Muslim group native to China’s far western region of Xinjiang, where ethnic rioting in July killed 197 people. Many there chafe under Chinese restrictions on their culture and religion. A group of Uighurs were smuggled into Cambodia about a month ago and applied for asylum at the United Nations refugee office. Yet Cambodia brushed off concerns they would be mistreated if returned and deported them for immigration offenses.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu declined to say where the deported Uighurs currently were, but said their case was not connected with China providing Cambodia aid. ”These accusations are groundless. These Chinese nationals’ illegal boarder crossing and entry into Cambodia violated both China’s Entry and Exit Law and relevant Cambodian laws,” she told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

“Furthermore, they are suspected of crimes. I think any country in this situation has the right to make its own decision according to domestic laws,” Jiang said. US-based Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, reviled by Beijing as a separatist, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Cambodia’s deportation was “no doubt influenced by enormous Chinese pressure, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in aid”.

The UN accused Cambodia of bowing to pressure and deporting the asylum seekers despite having given “strong assurances” it would be allowed to complete its investigation to determine their status.
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Jatuporn reveals more papers

Puea Thai MP Jatuporn Promphan on Wednesday made public an additional nine pages of a classified document he claims to have been prepared by the Foreign Ministry and outlining proposed action against Cambodia.

The pages shown by Mr Jatuporn at a press conference proposed taking three steps to counter the actions of the Cambodian prime minister. This included delaying Thai-Cambodian cooperation projects and reinforcement of troops along the border, particularly near the Preah Vihear temple.

The papers also proposed tough action against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now economic adviser to the Phnom Penh government and is being protected by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Mr Jatuporn, a leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, on Friday released what he said were the first pages of Foreign Ministry document. They focused on how Thailand should handle its relations with Cambodia and described Thaksin as a "key factor" in the destabilisation of the government that must be eliminated.

Mr Jatuporn interpreted it as a threat to Thaksin's life.

Mr Jatuporn said on Wednesday that he did not regard the document he had revealed as confidential since it was illegal, an interference in the judicial process and in violation of the constitution.

The UDD leader dared the Foreign Ministry to take legal action against him, saying he would launch a counter suit.

This matter would also be used to grill Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya during the coming no-confidence debate parliament and to seek his removal from office, he added.

He said the document which had been revealed would be translated into English and published on Thaksin's twitter website.

Chavanond Intarakomalsut, secretary to Mr Kasit, said the Foreign Ministry had consulted with the Office of the Attorney-General over legal action against those who made the document public.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said he agreed with air force chief ACM Ithiporn Supawong's comment that the Information Act should be used against those who make public classified official documents.
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