Convicted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be paroled this coming weekend because he is old and seriously ill, Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong confirmed on Tuesday.
Pol Col Tawee said at Government House that Thaksin was among 930 inmates whose release was approved by a parole committee. This month the Department of Corrections proposed parole for 945 inmates, he said.
Thaksin, 74, met parole criteria for being aged 70 years or more, suffering serious illnesses and having served at least six months of his one-year prison term, Pol Col Tawee said.
Under the regulations, a convict is eligible for parole after serving at least one-third of his jail term or at least six months if one-third is less than six months, and the remaining term must not exceed ten years.
The justice minister said the director-general of the Department of Corrections had sent the parole list to him and Thaksin could be released on either Feb 17 or 18.
Pol Col Tawee said the number of paroled inmates was similar each month, about 930.
"I would like to say, this is normal... Parole for serious illness, disability or being aged 70 years or more began in 2003. Since then 2,240 people have been paroled," the minister said.
After 15 years as a fugitive living overseas, Thaksin returned to Thailand on Aug 22, 2023. The same day, the Supreme Court ordered his imprisonment for eight years for previous and finalised legal cases.
On the first night of his stay at Bangkok Remand Prison, corrections doctors decided he should be transferred to Police General Hospital because of the serious nature of his illnesses. His eight-year term was subsequently reduced to one year by royal clemency.
Thaksin's daughter Paetongtarn, leader of the coalition-core Pheu Thai Party, said on Tuesday her father would return to the family home.
He had been confined to a hospital room for the last six months, she said, and thought he would probably go out once doctors agreed he was fit enough to do so.