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UPDATE: Thaksin’s sentence reduced by HM the King

Former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra

UPDATE:

In a swift and unexpected development, His Majesty the King has issued a Royal commutation, effectively reducing the prison term of convicted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra. The commutation, officially announced in the Royal Gazette today, has reduced Thaksin’s eight-year prison sentence to just one year. This announcement was signed off by outgoing PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The Royal clemency comes as Thaksin Shinawatra is currently undergoing medical treatment at the Police General Hospital.

His Majesty’s decision to grant this clemency took into account several factors, according to the announcement. Firstly, it acknowledged Thaksin’s loyalty to the Monarchy, his previous role as the Prime Minister of Thailand, and his significant contributions to the nation during his tenure. Thaksin’s policies and initiatives were seen as beneficial to both the country and its people.

Furthermore, it was noted that when Thaksin was charged and subsequently sentenced to prison, he admitted his wrongdoings and willingly accepted the consequences of his actions. Additionally, his advanced age and ongoing medical conditions, which necessitate specialized medical care, were taken into consideration.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Convicted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who recently returned to Thailand, has officially submitted an application for a royal pardon. Thaksin was imprisoned for 8 years on his return to the kingdom on August 22. He has since been transferred to the Police General Hospital in Bangkok, where he is receiving medical treatment for age-related conditions.

Netizens and critics of the former PM have taken to social media complaining that Thaksin has been getting special VIP treatment, and assuming that his entire return to Thai soil and application for a royal pardon are just grand political theatre with a pre-arranged outcome.

Thai PBS World reports that outgoing deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam (his last day on the job today) says he has received Thaksin’s request for a royal pardon and that it will be examined, before being forwarded to the PM. He added that he’s unsure if the request would be handled by the outgoing government or the administration of newly-elected PM, Srettha Thaivisin.

There will be opposition in several quarters to the former PM being granted any kind of pardon, with the Thai Pakdee Party already petitioning the Corrections Department to oppose any attempt to have Thaksin pardoned.

The party’s treasurer, Anand Sakorncharoen, says Thaksin has four corruption convictions, greatly damaging Thailand’s reputation. He has also slammed the former PM for evading justice by fleeing the country.

“Thaksin also evaded punishment for long time by fleeing abroad, clearly showing that he does not respect the country’s justice system. Therefore, Thaksin’s petition for a royal pardon would “bother” the King.”

Anand adds that pardoning Thaksin would be unjust, would only serve to highlight the country’s social inequity, and confirm that in Thailand, prison is only for the poor. He points out that there are also two pending charges against the former PM and that he should be tried on those first, before being eligible for a royal pardon.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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