Questions raised about Thaksin's condition

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is currently being treated on the 14th floor of Police General Hospital. (Photo: Chainwit via Wikimedia Commons)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is currently being treated on the 14th floor of Police General Hospital. (Photo: Chainwit via Wikimedia Commons)

A legal scholar is asking the Department of Corrections if former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra really is so seriously ill that he requires treatment in a premium ward at the Police General Hospital as claimed.

Most people are now wondering if Thaksin will be able to remain in the hospital until his one-year jail term finishes, Asst Prof Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law of Thammasat University, said on Tuesday.

The answer, he said, is actually hinted at in a recent Ministry of Justice regulation on the detention of sick inmates who require treatment outside the department’s medical facilities.

The regulation was signed in 2020 by former justice minister Somsak Thepsutin, who is now a deputy prime minister in the new Pheu Thai Party-led government, said Asst Prof Prinya.

Under this regulation, any prisoners who are sick and need treatment outside the prison can get it if approved by the chief of the prison, he said. Treatment in a private hospital is also allowed if considered necessary.

If such treatment requires a stay of more than 30 days in a hospital outside the prison, it must be approved by the director-general of the department, based on a medical opinion pointing to the need to continue the treatment, he said.

If the treatment lasts more than 60 days, approval by the permanent secretary for justice is needed, while approval by the justice minister is required if treatment lasts more than 120 days.

Asst Prof Prinya said that the director-general of the Department of Corrections should clear up doubts raised about whether Thaksin is being given privileges over other prisoners as part of a political deal. A detailed explanation as to why Thaksin has to be in the hospital must be provided, he added.

Sept 21 will be the 30th day since the former premier was transferred from the Bangkok Remand Prison to the hospital, said Asst Prof Prinya.

“All prisoners, rich or poor, need to be treated equally,” he said. “And the same rule applies — they have to return to the prison after they get well. Otherwise, this will become a big issue that will definitely impact the government.”

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  • Department of Corrections (noun): the government department in charge of running prisons - กรมราชทัณฑ์
  • detention (noun): the condition of being forced officially to stay in a place - การกักตัว
  • hint: to say or do something that shows, but not directly, what is meant - แย้ม
  • inmate: someone who is kept in a prison, mental hospital or other institution - ผู้ถูกกักกัน, ผู้ถูกกักบริเวณในเรือนจำหรือโรงพยาบาล
  • Justice Minister (noun): The minister who heads the Ministry of Justice - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงกระทรวงยุติธรรม
  • permanent secretary: a government official, not a political appointee, in charge of a ministry - ปลัดกระทรวง
  • premium: of higher quality or more expensive than other similar things - ที่มีคุณภาพสูง, พรีเมี่ยม
  • privilege: a special benefit that is available only to a particular person or group - เอกสิทธิ์
  • regulation: an official rule that controls the way that things are done - กฎระเบียบ
  • treatment: the process of providing medical care - การรักษา
  • ward: a separate room or area in a hospital for people with the same type of medical condition - แผนกในโรงพยาบาลที่มีคนไข้ประเภทเดียวกัน
  • wonder: to think about something because you want to know more facts or details about it - สงสัย
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