Thaksin soon 'qualified for early parole'

Thaksin soon 'qualified for early parole'

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra waves to his supporters as he arrives at Don Muang Airport on Aug 22, 2023, before being taken to prison. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra waves to his supporters as he arrives at Don Muang Airport on Aug 22, 2023, before being taken to prison. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who will complete one-half of his prison term on Feb 18, has reportedly been listed as eligible for special parole, a Department of Corrections (DoC) source said on Tuesday.

The source said the DoC has compiled the list of eligible inmates for parole and special parole, with Thaksin meeting the criteria for the latter.

Special parole can be granted to inmates who are either over 70 or who are suffering from a critical illness or disability after they have served one-third of their sentence.

After 15 years of self-imposed exile, Thaksin returned to Thailand on Aug 22, 2023. The Supreme Court handed him an eight-year jail term for his previous and finalised legal cases. That sentence was later reduced to one year by royal clemency.

On the first night at Bangkok Remand Prison, doctors at the DoC determined he should be transferred to the Police General Hospital because of his allegedly serious illnesses.

The list of inmates eligible for parole will be sent to the justice minister for consideration, the source said.

A source from the Ministry of Justice said the DoC's regulation on reviewing an inmate's qualification for parole does not specify what cases are allowed.

"Inmates for any case can be granted parole if they meet the criteria," the source said.

Despite His Majesty the King having already commuted Thaksin's sentence via royal pardon, the DoC said he meets the conditions for a full parole.

Yet Thaksin still faces a criminal charge of lese majeste dating back to 2016, and the attorney-general will decide if he will be indicted, Prayut Phetcharakhun, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), said on Tuesday.

Mr Prayut said the OAG received the case from police at the Technology Crime Suppression Division. Thaksin was alleged to have defamed the monarchy in comments made in Seoul, South Korea, on May 21, 2015.

The present attorney-general has yet to decide if he should be indicted, Mr Prayut said.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said Thaksin's case is under the supervision of the DoC and the Justice Ministry, not the OAG.

Justice Minister Pol Col Tawee Sodsong said he must wait to see if the OAG files a lawsuit against Thaksin before deciding on the next steps.

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