Pardon request for Thaksin reaches government

Pardon request for Thaksin reaches government

Wissanu says consideration won't take long, but caretaker government has just days left

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, with daughter Paetongtarn at his side, greets supporters in front of the private jet terminal at Don Mueang airport after his return to the country on Aug 22. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, with daughter Paetongtarn at his side, greets supporters in front of the private jet terminal at Don Mueang airport after his return to the country on Aug 22. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, in his capacity as the acting justice minister, says he has received an application for a royal pardon for Thaksin Shinawatra.

Speaking to reporters at Government House on Thursday, Mr Wissanu declined to say whether the former prime minister or his family had written the application. He said only that the application was for a pardon for an individual, as opposed to being part of a number of royal pardons and sentence reductions normally granted to mark certain spacial days.

Mr Wissanu declined to reveal if the application covered all three cases in which Thaksin was ordered to serve eight years in jail in total.

“We have received (the request), the rest will be according to the procedure,” he told reporters.

Under the law, prisoners can submit a pardon application that is passed from the justice minister through the prime minister to the Privy Council before going to His Majesty the King.

Officials have said the process takes one to two months, if all the paperwork is in order.

The current caretaker government has only a few days left before a new administration led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and the Pheu Thai Party is sworn in. But it would not take long to process the application, said Mr Wissanu.

Asked to elaborate, he said: “It is purely based on royal grace. The procedure from the government is not long, but it depends on the length of (the king’s) consideration.”

Mr Wissanu also confirmed that Thaksin was still at Police General Hospital. He was admitted there just hours after being sent to prison on Aug 22 to begin serving his sentence.

He defended the decisions made by corrections officials about the medical care for the 74-year-old billionaire inmate.

“Thaksin was ill. His blood pressure had almost reached 200. He had clot-busting medicine and allergies. He was also depressed and disheartened. So, his condition had worsened,” Mr Wissanu said on Thursday.

Thaksin returned to the country on Aug 22 after 15 years of self-imposed exile. Just hours after he touched down, the Supreme Court passed sentence on the three finalised legal cases related to corruption and abuse of power while in office prior to 2006.

On the first night of his stay at the Bangkok Remand Prison, doctors determined that Thaksin was too ill to stay at the Department of Corrections hospital, where facilities are limited.

The management of Police General Hospital have since denied that authorities had done any favours for Thaksin.

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