Former Constitutional Court judge joins jail-term outcry
Former Constitutional Court judge Jaran Pukditanakul on Monday joined critics speaking out against reducing jail sentences for inmates in corruption cases, saying it could pave the way for exploitation and more graft.
He said the issue presented a challenge to the justice system in which vast resources are spent proving guilt and must be addressed by the prime minister.
He noted that inmates convicted in a major corruption case were eligible for sentence reductions four times in less than 16 months -- from Aug 15, 2020 to Dec 6.
"It sends the wrong signal that no matter how serious the offence there is this loophole," he said.
Mr Jaran said there were conditions set for inmates jailed for narcotics-related crimes receiving a prison sentence reduction, so stricter criteria should be set for those imprisoned for corruption which causes far greater damage to the country and suffering than narcotics. He suggested that a petition be lodged with the Constitutional Court, via the Office of Ombudsman, asking the court to decide if an amnesty decree is against the charter.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday the government would review regulations and related laws involving the reduction of prison sentences following the outcry against the reduction of jail terms for convicts in major corruption cases.
His move came as the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) issued a statement opposing such sentence reductions after it was revealed that inmates in the rice-pledging case were among those to benefit from a royal pardon to mark His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great's birthday.
Two inmates who reportedly benefited from this royal pardon were ex-commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and his deputy Poom Sarapol. Boonsong, who was sentenced to 48 years in jail by the Supreme Court, will have his prison term reduced to 10 years and eight months. He will be freed in April 2028.
Poom was sentenced to 36 years in jail by the Supreme Court. He will have his prison term reduced to 5 years in jail. He will be released in August 2025.
Gen Prayut said he had studied the issue and agreed that all related regulations and laws should be revised if certain criteria were deemed unfit.