In Thailand, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will regain freedom

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be released on parole, after six months of detention in a prison and then a hospital, which he could leave as early as next weekend, the Minister of justice, Tawee Sodsong

In Thailand, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will regain freedom

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be released on parole, after six months of detention in a prison and then a hospital, which he could leave as early as next weekend, the Minister of justice, Tawee Sodsong.

The 74-year-old billionaire “is included in the group of prisoners [released] in critical condition or aged over 70,” the minister told journalists “Around 930 prisoners, including him, will have their sentences suspended (… ) He will be released automatically after six months” of imprisonment, he added.

Returning to the kingdom in August after fifteen years of exile to escape several convictions for corruption and abuse of power, Thaksin Shinawatra benefited from a royal pardon which made it possible to reduce his prison sentence from eight to one year. He spent a few hours in prison before being transferred to a police hospital in Bangkok due to health problems, which required at least two surgeries in recent months.

Accused of lese majeste

Thaksin Shinawatra is a central figure in political life in Thailand, a country he led from 2001 to 2006, until an army coup of which he was the bane. From abroad, the popular leader, accused of populism by his detractors, continued to exert influence through his family and his party, now called Pheu Thai, which regained power last August.

Thaksin Shinawatra is also the subject of lese majeste charges for comments made in 2015, but Thai justice has not yet decided what action to take in this case.