Activists on Thursday pressed authorities to look into whether Thaksin Shinawatra received a special favour when he was admitted to Police General Hospital just hours after he started his eight-year prison term.
Well-known petitioner Srisuwan Janya brought his complaint to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). He wants the NACC to look into the decision by the Department of Corrections to transfer the former prime minister to Police General Hospital “only for hypertension”.
He filed the complaint a day after authorities said the 74-year-old prisoner’s multiple health conditions justified the referral to a hospital that is better equipped than the medical facilities at the Bangkok Remand Prison.
Earlier, when Thaksin was living abroad, he appeared to be in good health and fit enough to travel frequently between countries, Mr Srisuwan said.
The activist also took issue with reports that Thaksin would not have to wear his hair short like other male inmates.
At the Ministry of Justice, an activist group led by Pichai Chaimongkol and Nasser Yeema told officials that the public was questioning the way the Department of Corrections was treating Thaksin.
They also asked if Thaksin was really severely ill, given the number of online pictures showing him looking quite healthy in recent times.
Sahakan Phetnarin, the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, said that when prisoners had life-threatening health problems, they must be referred to a hospital in accordance with corrections regulations.
Nastee Thongplad, the governor of Bangkok Remand Prison, said Thaksin remained at Police General Hospital and during his first five days there, from Wednesday to Sunday, he would be quarantined and no visitors would be allowed.
Afterwards, he said, authorities would allow Thaksin to see 10 people who had already expressed their intention to visit him. He declined to name the expected visitors.
Thaksin returned to the country on Tuesday after 15 years of self-imposed exile. On the same day, the Supreme Court ordered him imprisoned for a total of eight years based on convictions in three cases.
Thaksin was brought to Bangkok Remand Prison early Tuesday afternoon, but shortly after midnight he was sent to Police General Hospital.
A group of activists petition the Ministry of Justice on Thursday to end what they describe as preferential treatment given to former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now serving a jail term. Thaksin was transferred from his cell to the Police General Hospital for medical reasons on his first night in prison. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)