Lese majeste charges unlikely to send Thaksin back to jail: source

The charges originate from an interview that Thaksin gave to South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo in May, 2014.

The Nation

The Nation



Former PM Thaksin is seen in the centre in this image. PHOTO: THE NATION

February 8, 2024

BANGKOK – Questions as to whether Thaksin would be sent back to jail arose after political activist Wirangrong Dabbaransi posted images of documents from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG ) and the Technology Crime Suppression Division listing two charges faced by the former premier.

The charges originate from an interview that Thaksin gave to South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo, in which he alleged that the Privy Council had backed the May 22, 2014, coup which ousted his sister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government.

Thaksin, who was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison for several corruption cases, returned to Thailand after 15 years of self-imposed exile.

His term was reduced by clemency by His Majesty the King to one year and the Corrections Department said Thaksin is qualified to be released from jail to serve half of his term at home because of his old age and poor health.

But Wirangrong tried to put a brake on Thaksin’s supporters cheering too soon, saying police would seek his detention in jail on lese majeste and computer crime charges.

A high-level source from the Justice Ministry explained that the police’s procedure to seek Thaksin’s detention has been completed.

The source explained that both police and public prosecutors have formally informed Thaksin of the charges and the former prime minister has denied both charges.

The case is currently pending a decision by public prosecutors who are now reviewing a complaint from Thaksin for justice. If the prosecutors decide not to pursue the case, it will be over but if the public prosecutors decide to bring the case to court, Thaksin will simply be brought to be arraigned in court, the court explained.

Thaksin will have served half of his one-year term on February 18 although he has not spent a single night in jail. Thaksin was rushed from the Bangkok Remand Prison to the Police Hospital on the night of August 22, a mere few hours after arriving at the prison.

The source further explained that Thaksin might be moved to his Chan Song Lar residence on February 16 because February 18 falls on a Sunday, as corrections officials do not work on weekends, or he may have to wait until February 19 for corrections officials to release him “from jail” to serve the rest of his term at home, the source concluded.

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