Paroled ex-MP says new charges abrogate Thaksin's parole
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Paroled ex-MP says new charges abrogate Thaksin's parole

Justice minister disagrees, says innocent unless found guilty

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra visits Pheu Thai headquarters in March.(Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra visits Pheu Thai headquarters in March.(Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

A former MP who served time for election fraud before being paroled believes Thaksin Shinawatra should be immediately returned to prison now the attorney-general has decided to indict him on fresh charges.

The justice minister disagreed and said the former prime minister, now out on parole, was presumed innocent of the new charges until found guilty.

Former Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat Thepthai Senpong said on Wednesday that the decision to indict him for alleged lese majeste and computer crime meant Thaksin was now an alleged offender. He should therefore be returned to prison immediately. The laying of the charges affected the conditions of Thaksin's parole, he said.

"Thaksin is a paroled convict. There is the new offence under Section 112 of the Criminal Code (known as the lese majeste law). As he now becomes an alleged offender, the Probation Department must send him back to the Department of Corrections," Mr Thepthai said.

He was referring to the attorney-general's decision to indict Thaksin for alleged lese majeste and computer crime related to his interview in Seoul in 2015 about the role of privy councillors and the coup that ousted the government of his young sister, former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in May 2014.

Thepthai was jailed for election fraud and later paroled. He said many other paroled prisoners were returned to jail because of offences such as drink-driving and drug abuse, which breached the conditions of their release and parole was automatically revoked.

He also commented on the formal indictment being postponed after Thaksin cited a Covid-19 infection as  reason for a delay. He said the indictment was announced publically, possibly because there was a problem with a secret political deal.

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong said the indictment decision had no impact on Thaksin's parole, because he was still considered innocent, pending the court's ruling.

The Probation Department had not informed him of any wrongdoing that might affect Thaksin's parole, the minister said.

Thepthai Senpong

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong

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