January 19, 2024
BANGKOK – It is to be noted that the former leader has not spent a single night behind bars since he returned on August 22.
The announcement was made by Sitthi Suthiwong, deputy director-general of the Corrections Department, at a press conference on Wednesday. Also present was Somboon Muangklam, an adviser to Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong.
Upon returning to Thailand, Thaksin was formally informed of the eight-year prison sentence given to him in absentia. He was then escorted to the Bangkok Remand Prison but was rushed to the Police General Hospital for an unidentified medical condition that very night. While in hospital, Thaksin was granted royal clemency and his eight-year term was reduced to one year.
Sitthi, meanwhile, said Thaksin met all requirements to be allowed to spend the remaining eight months of his term at home. However, the Bangkok Remand Prison has not formally sought the Corrections Department’s approval for home detention.
Rules suggest that an inmate must serve at least a third of his or her term before being considered for house arrest.
Thaksin has spent more than 136 days in “detention” in the Police General Hospital, which means he has completed a third of his term or 120 days.
Sitthi said Thaksin is also eligible for house arrest because he is over 70 years old and suffers from several ailments.
Meanwhile, Somboon told the press that Thaksin’s treatment outside prison was being monitored by all relevant government agencies and was in accordance with the law. He said documents recording Thaksin’s treatment on the 30th, 60th and 120th day met the Corrections Department’s regulations and were approved by the department chief. The approvals were also reported to the Justice Ministry’s permanent secretary.
He added that the justice minister was also informed when the treatment crossed the 120-day mark. Somboon said Justice Minister Tawee had signed the document acknowledging Thaksin’s stay in the hospital on the 136th day.
In addition, officials from the Office of the Ombudsman and National Anti-Corruption Commission had checked to see if Thaksin was actually being treated in the hospital and was not staying in his luxury condominium as suspected by his opponents, he said.