Justice minister ‘staying out’ of Thaksin’s lese majesty case

TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2024

Tawee won’t comment on whether charges against paroled former prime minister are justified

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong on Tuesday declined to comment on whether the lese majesty charge against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was justified.

Tawee insisted the Justice Ministry would not interfere, adding the case was the responsibility of the attorney-general while Thaksin was within his rights to submit petitions for fair treatment.

Reporters approached Tawee for comment a day after the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) revealed Thaksin’s lawyers had submitted a second petition for fairness.

Thaksin submitted the first petition on January 17 while still detained at the Police General Hospital before his early parole release in February.   

The first petition failed to stop Attorney-General Amnat Jetcharoenrakl from going ahead with Thaksin’s indictment on a charge of lese majesty stemming from an interview he gave in South Korea in 2015.

The OAG announced late last month that Thaksin would face an indictment hearing on June 18.

In the second petition, Thaksin argued that the NCPO junta that took power after the 2014 coup interfered in the police investigation of the case. The new petition claims police investigators were intimidated by the NCPO after it brought the case.

Over the weekend, Thaksin told reporters that the case against him was groundless, calling it “poison fruit from the poison tree” of the 2014 coup.

Tawee enjoyed close ties with the Shinawatra family before being appointed justice minister in the current government led by Pheu Thai, the latest incarnation of Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party.

However, he insisted the Justice Ministry had no jurisdiction over Thaksin’s legal case. 

“The attorney-general will have the final say,” he told reporters.
Asked whether the charges of lese majesty and computer crime against Thaksin were warranted and lawful, Tawee declined to comment, saying only that the suspect had the right to fight the case according to legal means. Thaksin was charged for reportedly accusing members of the Privy Council, which advises the monarch, of being behind the 2014 coup that ousted the administration led by his sister, Yingluck.