Thaksin hits back at Prayut

Bangkok: Fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra dismissed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s (pic) claim he had hired foreign lobbyists to campaign against the Thai government.

In a Facebook message posted on Friday night, Thaksin said the post-coup government’s image over its two years in power was poor in the eyes of the international community simply because of its severe violation of human rights and international laws.

“Instead of admitting to his fault and correcting the problem, the leader blamed me and accused me of hiring lobbyists to campaign for boycotts of Thailand,” he said.

Punitive action against Thailand came after the government refused to heed warnings from foreign countries and international groups, Thaksin said.

He also criticised General Prayut’s frequent moody reactions to reporters’ questions.

“If he can’t control himself, do not expect the majority of the country to agree with him,” Thaksin said.

“No lobbyists in the world could destroy you as effectively as you are destroying yourself,” he said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in his statement that several critics of the draft charter have been arbitrarily arrested, detained and harassed since the draft was made public at the end of March.

He noted the detention of Pheu Thai politician Watana Muangsook and Tuesday’s arrest of five protesters for criticising the draft charter.

They have since been released.

Zeid expressed particular concern that the crackdown on criticism could intensify following hardline comments by General Prayut and other senior government figures.

Zeid also called for an open and dynamic public debate on the draft constitution, which he said “would foster national unity, strengthen the legitimacy and acceptance of the constitution and provide a sense of collective ownership”.

“I urge the government to actively encourage, rather than discourage, dialogue and engagement on the draft constitution. This would be an important step in establishing a solid foundation for a sustainable democracy in Thailand,” Zeid said. — The Nation/Asia News Network