Man City boss accused of human rights abuses

Deposed Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's takeover of the English Premier League club Manchester City has led to fresh debate in the United Kingdom after high-profile, non-government organisations, the New York-based Human Rights Watch and the London-based Amnesty International, separately attacked the new club owner over his human-rights record. However, in response to questioning why Thaksin was deemed to meet the criteria of its fit-and-proper-person test, the EPL defended its test. "We have very clear rules on the ownership of our clubs," a Premier League statement read. "These rules go above and beyond any requirement by company law and are some of the sternest in any UK industry."

The Man City hierarchy, meanwhile, believes Thaksin is being victimised by the military-backed Thailand government, the Manchester Evening News reported. "What seems to have slipped through the minds of some observers of this situation is that Thaksin was the first, and only, prime minister of Thailand to be democratically elected twice," said a senior Man City official. "He was then the victim of a coup d'etat by a military junta, which is now actively pursuing anything it possibly can against the man. We have total confidence that any investigation into him will flounder," said the official.

Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW, told The Nation: "A person who presides over extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and attacks on the media is not a fit and proper person by any standard. It appears that Thaksin is trying to buy his way into polite society in Britain to cleanse his image and record as a human-rights abuser. The Premier League shouldn't play this game," he said. In a separate interview with the BBC, he labelled Thaksin as "a human-rights abuser of the worst kind", who should not have passed the League's fit-and-proper person test.

An Amnesty International spokesperson told BBC Sport: "Thaksin did preside over some very serious human-rights violations." Amnesty also outlined several allegations against Thaksin, including extrajudicial killings, a violent crackdown on insurgency in the deep South and suppression of media freedom. "If the Premier League wants to take any of that into account when making their decisions, we're happy to make our documents available to them."

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