Thaksin parole was 'perfectly legal'

Thaksin parole was 'perfectly legal'

Supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and reporters are seen in front of the Shinawatra family’s Ban Chan Song La residence in Bangkok's Bang Phlat district on Sunday. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and reporters are seen in front of the Shinawatra family’s Ban Chan Song La residence in Bangkok's Bang Phlat district on Sunday. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Justice Minister Pol Col Tawee Sodsong said the parole recently granted to convicted former prime minister Thaskin Shinawatra -- who did not spend a single night in jail after his return to Thailand late last year -- was in line with legal criteria.

He was responding to Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat, a Move Forward Party (MFP) MP for Bangkok, who raised the issue at a parliamentary meeting on Thursday.

Mr Nattacha asked the justice minister how Thaksin met the criteria for parole under the Corrections Act or regulations issued by the Department of Corrections (DoC).

Citing a DoC regulation, he said inmates who are eligible for parole must be seriously ill or older than 70 and cannot take care of themselves adequately.

They must depend on others for daily activities like eating, bathing, dressing and moving around, and be unable to control their bowel movements, Mr Nattacha said.

"How does Thaksin fit this condition?" he asked, adding he wanted to know the names of the two doctors who confirmed Thaksin had been seriously ill yet recovered within 180 days.

Col Pol Tawee said the National Health Act protects the confidentiality of people's health-related data, meaning it cannot be revealed to others without their consent.

"The doctors who diagnosed Thaksin's conditions are from the Police General Hospital [where he was detained]. His parole was in line with the law and related regulations and doctors' criteria," he said.

The opposition Democrat Party said it would not raise the issue at the next censure debate because it is not related to the government's performance.

Deputy leader Chaichana Detdecho said key economic issues, including the lack of progress in the much-hyped digital wallet scheme, are much more relevant.

"Thaksin has returned home and been reunited with his family. The issue has come to an end. The concern now is the justice system. The public wonders if there are double standards. I would like to ask the director-general of the Department of Corrections to give a clear answer," he said.

Mr Chaichana said the party expected a censure debate to take place before the end of the House session in April.

The Democrats intend to discuss the digital wallet scheme and the government's policies to raise the minimum daily wage and salaries of graduates. The government has not implemented these policies yet, he said.

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