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Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra released on parole from police hospital

Thaksin was sentenced to eight years in jail on corruption charge and his sentence was later reduced

Stuti Mishra
Sunday 18 February 2024 10:35 GMT
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Jailed former Thai PM Thaksin released on parole

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been released on parole from a Bangkok hospital after serving six months of his sentence on corruption charges.

Mr Thaksin, 74, left the Police General Hospital early morning on Sunday in a convoy wearing a neck support, a sling on his right arm and a surgical mask.

He was accompanied by his two daughters, including the ruling Pheu Thai Party chief, Paetongtarn Shinawatra.

Mr Thaksin arrived at his house to find a crowd of reporters and banners that said “Welcome home” and “We’ve been waiting for this day for so, so long” hanging at his front gate.

However, the former prime minister did not speak to the media.

The two-time prime minister was released on parole six months before the end of his reduced one-year jail term.

Mr Thaksin was considered eligible for parole due to his old age, justice minister Tawee Sodsong said last week.

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, right, sits in a vehicle with his daughter Paetongtarn (AP)

He will, however, still have to report to parole officers every month for the remainder of his sentence and will be subject to a travel restriction. But he is not required to wear an ankle monitor due to his age and health conditions, officials have said.

Mr Thaksin was sentenced to eight years in jail on corruption charges on his return from a 15-year self-exile in August last year. But King Maha Vajiralongkorn reduced his sentence in September.

A supporter waits in front of former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s residence (AP)

An influential and highly polarising figure in Thai politics, Mr Thaksin was accused of abuse of power during his time in office from 2001 to 2006. His government was toppled in an army coup, and he was subsequently charged with allegations of corruption.

His release is seen as a sign of improving ties between him and Thailand’s elites, who earlier viewed him as a threat to the country’s monarchy.

Mr Thaksin will continue to “conduct the music behind the scenes” for the ruling Pheu Thai party - led by his daughter - but how much political power he can now exercise is unclear, said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a professor of political science at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University.

Additional reporting with agencies

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