17 Dec 2011

Passport reissued to former prime minister

11:44 am on 17 December 2011

Thailand has reissued a passport to fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

A foreign ministry spokesman told the BBC that Mr Thaksin was given his passport back in October because he was "no longer a threat to the country".

Mr Thaksin lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a prison term for abusing his powers while in office.

His passport was revoked under the previous government but Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is his sister.

The BBC reports Mr Thaksin's political adversaries are bitterly opposed to attempts to rehabilitate him

Earlier this month, the government indicated it planned to return Mr Thaksin's passport as "a New Year gift".

The BBC reports the previous government accused Mr Thaksin of encouraging protests by his supporters and stripped him of his passport in 2009.

He was overthrown in a coup in 2006 while he was out of the country.

Mr Thaksin was later prosecuted for abuse of power and sentenced to jail, but he fled the country before the end of the trial. He lives in exile in Dubai.