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Activists stage ongoing protests against Thaksin’s “preferential treatment”

Thaksin Shinawatra

Political activists plan to protest alleged preferential treatment of Thaksin Shinawatra, according to a Bangkok Post report. The convicted former PM will be eligible for parole from February 18, without having spent a single night in prison, despite being sentenced to an initial 8-year term.

Thaksin returned to Thailand on August 22 last year, following a 15 year absence. He had fled the country after being ousted by a military coup in 2006. During his self-imposed exile, he was convicted for corruption and abuse of power while in government and sentenced in absentia.

On his return to the kingdom in August, the 74 year old was met by the authorities and taken to the Supreme Court. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison, which was subsequently reduced to 1 year by royal clemency.

Later that night, Thaksin was removed from Bangkok Remand Prison and transferred to the Police General Hospital on the grounds of “ill health”, where he has remained ever since, despite a 120-day limit on inpatient care having expired on December 22.

Now the Students and People’s Network for Thailand Reform is planning an ongoing protest outside Government House from February 2. STR leader Pichit Chaimongkol says the protest is against the preferential treatment given to the former PM. Parallel protests are expected to take place at other agencies where the STR has submitted petitions.

A previous protest was held at Government House between January 12 and 14, calling for Thaksin to be held to the same judicial standards as everyone else.

The activists plan to submit a protest to the Supreme Court president calling for a panel to be set up to investigate how the National Anti-Corruption Commission handled Thaksin’s case. It requires 20,000 signatures, which Pichit believes it will achieve prior to Thaksin becoming eligible for parole.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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