Ex-PM Thaksin imprisoned after return to Thailand from exile

Update 1: Includes imprisonment, updates throughout

Bangkok, Aug 22 (EFE).- Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, removed from power by a military coup in 2006, was imprisoned Tuesday hours after returning to his country following 15 years in exile, the prison department said.

Thaksin, a 74-year-old former media magnate who last left the country in 2008, entered a prison north of Bangkok following a high court order for the former president to begin serving an eight-year prison sentence for three different convictions.

The department said the former prime minister would spend 10 days in isolation in jail to follow Covid-19 protocols and address various health problems.

“Thaksin has already passed the medical examination and is in Bangkok Remand Prison under the supervision of officials,” department director-general Ayuth Sintoppant said in a news conference.

The former prime minister returned as the bicameral parliament voted for the prime ministerial candidacy of Srettha Thaivisin, proposed by the Pheu Thai party, controlled by the Shinawatra family and recently allied with pro-military parties.

Thaksin, a popular politician who gained favor with much of the rural areas for his social policies, was sentenced in absentia for various cases of corruption and abuse of power that he blames on political motives by the monarchist elite and promilitarize

The cases include the purchase of land below its real value, irregularities related to the lottery, an export-export deal with Myanmar, and the fraudulent use of front men at his former company, Shin Corp.

Upon his Tuesday arrival on a private plane at the Don Mueang airport, the former president was received by hundreds of people who gathered in front of the private flight terminal amid tight security measures around the compound.

Thaksin, accompanied by his three children, went out briefly to greet his followers and lay a wreath in front of the portrait of King Vajiralongkorn escorted by several policemen and officials.

The politician’s return coincides with the political blockade the country is experiencing after the elections on May 14 and with the session scheduled this afternoon in parliament to elect the next prime minister.

Pheu Thai, which came second in the elections, announced Monday an alliance with two formations linked to the military that carried out a coup in 2014 against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister.

Yingluck, winner of the 2011 election, is in exile and accompanied her brother to Singapore, where she said goodbye to him.

Since the uprising that toppled Thaksin, Thailand has been experiencing deep political instability that has kept it in a loop of anti-government protests, periods of military-led dictatorial rule and lapses in democracy.

The return of the former leader marks an unusual alliance between the Shinawatra family and the Pheu Thai with the monarchist and pro-military elite. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button