Thailand’s ex-leader Thaksin granted parole 6 months into sentence

Bangkok, Feb 13 (EFE).- Thailand’s ‘jailed’ former leader Thaksin Shinawatra is set to be freed on parole just six months into his prison sentence and his return from self-imposed exile abroad, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin confirmed Tuesday.

Thaksin, twice prime minister and ousted in a 2006 military coup, lived in exile for 15 years until his return to the country last August when he began an eight-year jail term for conflict of interest, malfeasance and abuse of power. Days later the sentence was commuted to one year by the king.

The 74-year-old has not spent a single night in jail as, upon beginning his sentence, he was transferred to hospital for undisclosed health issues, and has reportedly been there for the six months since.

He could be released as soon as this weekend after appearing on a list of detainees eligible for parole due to criteria such as advanced age, health condition and at least six months served.

“It is now official that he will receive parole, which followed all the regulations of Department of Corrections,” Srettha told reporters on Tuesday.

“Thaksin had been prime minister for many years and contributed very much to the country. He is one of the most popular prime ministers in Thai political history,” the prime minister added.

“When he comes out, he is considered a normal citizen. Things in the past are considered to be in the past.”

Earlier, Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong had confirmed that the parole committee approved the move because his conditions fit the legal criteria, according to a video broadcast by local television networks.

The former leader’s daughter and prominent politician Paetongtarn Shinawatra confirmed to journalists that she had learned of the “good news” on Tuesday morning, although she claimed not to know the exact day he will be released.

Thaksin returned to Thailand on Aug. 22 last year, the same day his ally Srettha was elected prime minister.

Despite his upcoming freedom, Thaksin could be detained again in the future, since the Thai Prosecutor’s Office is studying a complaint against him related to an interview he gave in 2015. EFE


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