Thaksin could be out 'in February'

Thaksin could be out 'in February'

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra greets supporters when he arrived at Don Mueang airport on Aug 22. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra greets supporters when he arrived at Don Mueang airport on Aug 22. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Senator Somchai Sawangkarn has confirmed that jailed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be eligible for early release in February after completing half of his one-year jail term.

Mr Somchai, who chairs the Senate committee on human rights, civil liberty and consumer protection, said Thaksin can still receive a reduction in jail time even though his eight-year term has already been commuted to one year.

Shortly after his return from self-imposed exile, Thaksin petitioned His Majesty the King for a royal pardon and got his sentence shortened.

Citing the Department of Corrections, Mr Somchai said inmates must serve one-third of their sentences to be eligible for a reduction on special occasions. In Thaksin's case, he will have completed one-third of his prison term by Dec 20 and half of it in February.

He said Thaksin will be eligible for a suspended jail term after six months because he is an elderly inmate with chronic diseases, and he would not need to wear a tracking device.

"In case of an early release, an electronic monitoring (EM) ankle bracelet is unnecessary. He may be confined to his house and would not be allowed to travel overseas. The six-month period [before he is eligible for early release] includes his stay in hospital," he said.

According to Mr Somchai, the information was provided by Department of Corrections representatives who were among the state officials invited by his committee to give information about the healthcare provided to inmates on Monday and to answer questions surrounding Thaksin's case.

Thaksin, 74, was admitted to Police General Hospital on the night of Aug 22, about 13 hours after he was sent to prison. He has now been there for over a month, prompting questions over privileged treatment.

Representatives from the Royal Thai Police (RTP), Police General Hospital, Justice Ministry and the Corrections Hospital were also invited to answer the committee's questions on Tuesday.

Mr Somchai said Thaksin's stay is being supervised by the Department of Corrections with police assistance.

However, the senator said the committee was not given any details about Thaksin's recent surgery there as its representative was not involved in his care and treatment and health information is protected by the law.

Mr Somchai said the committee urged the RTP and Police General Hospital to at least inform the public how long Thaksin is expected to stay there before he can be sent back to the Corrections Hospital.

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