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TUESDAY, September 27, 2022
No big-name convicts on royal pardon list after rules tightened

No big-name convicts on royal pardon list after rules tightened

FRIDAY, August 12, 2022

Wealthy prominent prisoners hoping for early release were left disappointed on Friday when the latest list of royal pardons was published.

Rules for royal pardons have been tightened following public criticism of reduced jail time for wealthy convicts in high-profile corruption cases.

Praising the rule change on Friday, Senator Somchai Swangkarn said it made it more difficult for inmates to be eligible for early release. To be eligible for royal pardon under the new rules, prisoners must have served at least a third of their original jail time or a minimum of eight years.

The latest pardon was published in Friday’s Royal Gazette on the occasions of HM the King’s 70th birthday on July 28 and HM the Queen Mother’s 90th birthday on August 12.

Somchai, who chairs the Senate committee on human rights, liberties and consumer protection, said that big-name inmates jailed for serious crimes were no longer eligible for royal pardons following the rule revision.

“People whose jail time was reduced last time will not be eligible for a royal pardon this time around, he wrote in a Facebook post.

“Those eligible must be inmates classified as ‘good’, and not just middle class,” he said.

No big-name convicts on royal pardon list after rules tightened

Somchai said the rule changes stemmed from recommendations by a committee headed by former attorney general Khemchai Chutiwong, which was appointed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to look into the matter following public criticism of early release for rich inmates.

“My thanks to the prime minister, the Cabinet, the Khemchai panel, the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, the media and everyone who loves justice, for their united fight that led to the changes,” the senator said in his post.