Thaksin Shinawatra in Venice, Italy.

Thailand grants bail to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra

Thai authorities have granted bail to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is serving a one-year prison sentence for several corruption charges from a hospital, confirmed Tuesday the head of the government, Srettha Thavisin.

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Thaksin, who has not even spent a night in jail as he is being treated at a police hospital, could be released over the weekend after appearing on a list of detainees eligible for prison benefit because of their advanced age or health conditions.

“It is official now that he has been granted parole, following all the regulations of the Department of Prisons,” the prime minister said in an appearance with reporters after hearing the news.

“Thaksin was a prime minister for many years and contributed a lot to the country. He is one of the most popular prime ministers in Thai history,” Srettha added.

“When he comes out he will be a normal citizen. The things of the past must stay in the past,” he added.

Earlier, Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong confirmed that the parole committee “approved the proposal of the director general (of the Prison Department),” because his conditions fit the legal criteria, according to a video broadcast by local television stations.

Thaksin, who is serving a year in prison for several corruption charges during his term of office (2001-2006), is being held at the Police Hospital in Bangkok under the custody of the Prisons Department and could be released this weekend.

For her part, the former president’s daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, confirmed when asked by journalists that she had “learned” this morning of the “good news”, although she said she did not know the “exact day when he will be released”.

However, despite the granting of the benefit of parole the former prime minister could still be arrested in the future, as the Thai Prosecutor’s Office is looking into allegations of alleged offenses against the monarchy during an interview in 2015, although for the moment it has not filed charges.

Thaksin, 74, who was deposed in a military coup in 2006, returned to Thailand last August 22 after 15 years in exile, on the same day that his ally Srettha Thavisin was elected Prime Minister with the support of two pro-military parties.

Since his return, he did not spend a single night in prison, as shortly after his arrest he was transferred to the health center due to his delicate health conditions.

Corrections officials to meet Thaksin as he leaves Police General Hospital

The following week, Thaksin received a royal pardon that reduced his accumulated sentences from eight years in prison to one year behind bars, which has been interpreted as a reconciliation of Thailand’s pro-military and pro-monarchist elite with the president’s circle, considered for many years as the country’s public enemy number one.

-Thailand News (TN)

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