Former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra released on parole

Thailand’s 74-year-old former prime minister and billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra was released Sunday after he was granted special parole on the grounds of his delicate health and advanced age, six months after being arrested following 15 years of self-imposed exile. He has returned to his home in Bangkok.

No special measures planned for Thaksin’s release: Thai Police

Shinawatra had another six months left before the end of the sentence he was serving in a police hospital in Bangkok. The politician, who was in power from 2001 until the 2006 coup, was eligible for parole because he is over 70 years old, seriously ill and has served at least six months of his sentence, which was reduced from eight years to one year in September last year by a royal pardon.

Thaksin left the Bangkok hospital where he was serving his sentence today in a black Mercedes-Benz at around 6 a.m. (GMT+7) and amid dozens of journalists awaiting his departure, and drove the vehicle to his home, where more media were waiting for him, according to local media images.

The former leader was protected by a mask, and had his daughter, also a politician, Paetongtarn Shinawtra, sitting next to him.

The terms of Shinawatra’s parole are not yet known, but he may have to wear an electronic bracelet or restrict his travel, according to an expert interviewed Tuesday by AFP.

Thaksin has been hospitalized since he returned to the country after fifteen years of exile and has spent more than a third of his reduced sentence (120 days) in custody. In addition, King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand granted him a partial pardon and reduced his sentence in a clear gesture towards one of the most relevant figures in the recent history of the country.

In this regard, current Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin himself has stated in the past that the former prime minister could move to a Cabinet position once his sentence is commuted.

The former prime minister was ousted from power in 2006 by the military and fled the country two years later after being charged with corruption.

-Thailand News (TN)

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