The Following is from DPA:
Bangkok – Thai protest leaders on Saturday claimed the country’s prime minister was born a British citizen and therefore can be tried at an international court for committing crimes against humanity.
The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) anti-government movement has been trying to open a case against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at the International Criminal Court for ordering troops to crack down on their street protests last year.
Thailand does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction, so Abhisit, a Thai national, cannot be tried there.
But the UDD’s lawyer, US national Robert Amsterdam, has argued that since Abhisit was born in Newcastle, England and never renounced his right to British citizenship, he is eligible to be tried at the international court.
‘Amsterdam went to England and got a copy of Abhisit’s birth certificate which proves that he was born a British citizen,’ UDD leader Jatuporn Prompang told a gathering of more than 10,000 red-shirted followers.
Amsterdam was hired by fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the de facto leader of the Puea Thai opposition party and the money-man behind the UDD, also called red shirts for their preferred protest garb.
Abhisit, who attend Eton and Oxford before returning to Thailand to become one of the country’s youngest premiers and the rising star of the Democrat Party, was born in England because his academic parents were working there at the time.
He has denied that he is British.
Abhisit last year presided over a showdown with the UDD, which held traffic-stopping protests in the capital from March to May, prompting street battles with authorities that left more than 90 people dead, including a dozen police and soldiers.
Seventeen UDD leaders who were arrested in May and face charges of terrorism and breaking the emergency decree by staging violent protests, remain imprisoned.
On Monday, the court will decide whether to grant at least seven of them bail.
‘I hope that they will have all been granted bail by May 19 so we can all regroup to mark the first anniversary of the crackdown,’ Jatupon told the crowd at Ratchprasong Raod, a shopping district that was occupied by the UDD last year.
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