Thailand’s former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be freed: Reports

Justice minister says Thaksin was one of 930 inmates given parole on Tuesday with release expected after February 17.

Thaksin Shinawatra pictured on his return to Thailand last year [File: Wason Wanichakorn/AP Photo]Published On 13 Feb 202413 Feb 2024

Thailand’s jailed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is set to be freed, according to local media reports.

Thaksin, 74, who was jailed for eight years for abuse of power before a royal pardon reduced the term to one year, was granted release on the basis of his age and health, Thai media reported on Tuesday, citing Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong.

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The politician and business tycoon was transferred to hospital after a single night in jail as a result of high blood pressure and has been there ever since.

He was among 930 inmates given parole on Tuesday, Tawee told reporters, and is expected to be released after February 17.

Thailand returned to Thailand last August following more than 14 years in exile.

Thaksin swept to power in 2001 on a populist platform that appealed to rural Thais who had long been neglected by the country’s ruling elites. He was returned in a landslide five years later but, in September 2006, when Thaksin was in New York preparing to address the United Nations, the military seized power in a coup.

Thaksin – who was also accused of serious human rights abuses amid a violent conflict in the country’s mostly Muslim southern provinces and a “drugs war”, which left thousands dead – was later convicted of abuse of power and went into exile, mostly in Dubai.

Source: Al Jazeera